By Collin Ross
When I was growing up, our church sent a team each year to help repair the homes of refugee families in a nearby housing co-op. When we first started, the neighborhood was gripped with fear and isolation. Though children were living in just about every house, none dared to play outside. It wasn’t a safe place. Gradually, however, things began to change. In the sixth year, after we started developing relationships with the residents, we hosted a neighborhood block party. The scene couldn’t have been more different than those early years. Adults were laughing together, and children were playing soccer, neighbors were grilling out and swapping stories. The place had taken on a completely new atmosphere.
Looking back at that renewed community, I can’t help but think of John’s vision in Revelation: “Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them…He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4).
As we journey through life with Jesus, we experience momentary windows into that glorious future, and every time we do, we hunger for more. It’s like catching a whiff of freshly baked bread. The smell is delightful, but you’d much rather have the loaf itself. We long for the day when the Lord lives with us here on earth.
There is a refrain that I often hear whenever something sad happens. I’ll frequently hear someone say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” The assumption behind the plea is two-fold. First, the speaker has some inclination that the Lord intends to come to earth at some future date. The second is this: when the Lord comes to earth, sad things will no longer occur. When Christ makes our home His own, we will no longer dread moments such as this, for they will be a distant memory. When the Lord is here, we will know everlasting peace and security.
Ezekiel ends his book of prophecy with that very hope. He concludes with a vision of a city being built, “and the name of the city from that day on will be The LORD Is There” (Ezekiel 48:35). This is the promise upon which the exile community relied. It’s the promise at the heart of Christ’s teaching, and the hope that strengthened the early Church in the midst of persecution.
This is the promise that we hold to each and every day as Christians, that we remember during the Lenten season. Christ will return, and when He does, all that is sad will be made untrue. Whatever you are facing today, and whatever befalls you tomorrow, remember this city that is your eternal home in Christ: “The LORD Is There.”