I just finished watching the last episode of Ken Burns’ documentary “The War.” The film is not entertainment. It’s an historical depiction of real evil and of the heartrending, gut-wrenching consequences of human sin. It’s also a reminder of the great courage and heroism of a generation of Americans who went out to fight a necessary war. I am grateful for them and their sacrifice, even as I thank God for the blessings of liberty and peace that I too often take for granted.
The film is also a reminder that the relative peace and prosperity in which I live is not the norm of the human condition. It’s certainly the exception. And it will remain so until the great day. As I looked at the pictures of death, the piles of bodies at the death camps, the mangled remains of soldiers cast over the beaches and countrysides of faraway places, the violated corpses of Chinese women and children, I reminded myself that God did not create the world for this.
One of the veterans interviewed in the movie said that until the “millennium,” wars like this one will be inevitable and sometimes even necessary. He was right. Even though this world is now a conveyor belt of death, grinding people up in its atrocities, there will come a day when the Lord Jesus will descend from the heavens with a shout to make all things new, “And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war” (Isaiah 2:4).
King Jesus will come again to make everything right. So there can be joy now even in the face of the most agonizing grief and pain.
“1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, 4 and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ 5 And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new'” (Revelation 21:1-5).
May the Lord grant us to set our hearts on that promise and to draw others into the hope that only comes from Christ and His gospel.