Pastor T. J. de Ruiter, The Netherlands
Listen to Pastor de Ruiter: The Message of 'New Year 2005'
The ultimate hope, even in disaster
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more... and God himself will be with them, he will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
The year 2004 is history and in a certain sense it is not. The misery of hundred thousands men in the countries around the Indian Ocean does not belong to the past now the new year has begun. On the contrary, the full extent of the misery has still to be revealed to the many victims and the whole world. Uncountable numbers of tears are shed in these days, though many people have no tears because of being in a state of complete shock, that benumbs, preventing them clearly feeling their miserable state and conditions. But when they come out of their shock there will undoubtedly be many tears.
Believers, which are so suddenly deprived of their loved ones by the cruel seas, could comfort themselves with the thought that they are 'with the Lord,' freed from their earthly body, and presently closed with the heavenly one. But this faith will not take away the grief of the sudden bereavement. Children have lost their parents, parents lost their children, and others lost their partners. How must they survive without them? Who will care for them and supply their urgent need? How will they continue living when all social ties are gone and the infrastructures of the society are completely destroyed. It is almost an inhuman task to continue living in such a state and under such conditions.
The sea with her friendly, warm, little waves changed suddenly, within seconds, in a cruel, lethal monster. We understand that scientists cannot guarantee that such a disaster as that of 2nd Christmas Day 2004 shall not happen again. On the contrary they fear, knowing the gigantic accumulating pressures within the crust of the planet that sooner or later more of such unpredictable seaquakes with their huge tsunamies will occur. Only a well functional warning system is the only hope, through with the loss of lives could be limited.
But there is another hopeful message, the inspired word of the Spirit of Christ, which reveals the ultimate hope. It is the word of Revelation 21:1, where God Himself gives the assurance that there will come a time when there will be no more sea. Never before have we been able to appreciate the worth of this promise for mankind, but now we do after this enormous disastrous seaquake with its devastating waves. In these days of sorrow and suffering we could wish that this new period, this new earth without a sea would soon appear. In any case this is certain: The year 2005 will bring us again a step closer to Gods new heaven and new earth. God himself will then wipe all tears from the eyes, also the tears that are now shed because of the pain and loss of loved ones caused by the tsoenami in the Indian Ocean. In the meantime we will do everything to comfort and help those, who are so heavily hit; this is our commission in the present, while we look forward with earnest expectation to Gods promised wonderful new future.