For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. Isaiah 51:3
I couldn’t help but notice all the holiday adverts as I flicked through the Christmas edition of the Radio Times this week. Christmas has quickly passed and we’re now thinking of the year ahead – I wonder where you would like to go?
There were many amazing places advertised… Turkey (though I think I had enough over Christmas), Barbados, a Safari in Africa or a Cruise in Norway. Just one of those places would do quite nicely! But there is one place that I’m sure all Christians would love to visit – The Garden of Eden. If it were possible would you not give all your earthly possessions to visit that most wonderful of places? What a place it must have been! The unspoilt beauty of creation as man, woman and God would walk and talk in openness and truth. No death, no deceit, no sin and no curse.
What a comfort it is to know that we won’t need to travel this year to gain a taste of Eden. The curse has been moved through the perfect work and sacrifice of Jesus and the way is open to all who have been saved and reconciled to God. As Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation”.
We may feel many real and tangible fears, and worry about the challenges we will face as we walk through the wilderness of this world in the coming year. There is sin within our own hearts and in our churches that can so easily attack our assurance and derail our witness and personal walk with God. We’re aware of challenges – but we can face them all with joy and gladness knowing that God is with us.
As we face the year ahead, let’s do so with grounded hope and faith in Jesus. Join us in praying that God would comfort all of us and give us such a vision of His strength, grace and glory. If we depend on our own strength and circumstances we will struggle, but if we look at the face of Jesus, we will be transformed into a mighty army that will sing with thankfulness all the way home to a new and better Eden!
Trusting you will know the Lord’s rich blessings this coming year,
On behalf of the EMW team