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“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”

(Genesis 1:31)

Imagine yourself hiking in the Rocky Mountains under a sky astonishingly blue—the temperature is ideal as the breeze flutters aspen leaves that have begun to turn bright yellow, or on the deck sipping from a hot cup of coffee as you watch an amazing sunrise over the mirror-like lake, or playing with your grandchildren who have been pretty well-behaved most of the day—freely blessing their grandparents with hugs and kisses.

In response to such experiences, you may feel inclined to say that it was a (nearly) perfect day.

We know, of course, that we’re living in a world marred by sin. History abounds with evidence of that. When we were still infants we became aware of pain, fear, and sadness. Such things have been a part of our existence, and they will continue to be during our time here.

And yet . . . there are those moments when we get a glimpse of the goodness that God embedded into His Creation. We can close our eyes and imagine how pleasant it was for our first parents to work in a garden unvexed by weeds. How wonderful it must have been for them to have no discord in their relationship with one another! How nice to lie down to sleep with no regrets, no guilt, no worries! How pleasant to interact playfully with lion and lamb alike!

That is not the reality of our day-to-day living. But, for a fleeting moment, we can enjoy going back to where the Bible begins and read about the place that was made by our loving, almighty God. We also “desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.” (Hebrews 11:16) Oh, how we long to experience a truly perfect day—something that eludes us even when we’re going through a relatively good week. Isn’t the overarching theme of the Bible about how God promised, and then proceeded, to set things right again? As we read through the Scriptures we see how far the Lord is willing to go to make that happen.

What a sorry mess people have made in the quest to make the world a better place, yes, (in their imagination) a perfect place! To that end they have passed laws, coerced and enforced their concepts of “good” on people, and even gone to war. War follows (and often overlaps) war. When people wonder why we can’t all just get along, it demonstrates that they don’t understand what sin has done to the world in general and human hearts in particular.

God knows. It is true that a war must be waged, but not as one corrupt human idea against another. The Lord Himself declared war against sin, death, and the devil. “The  Lord  is a warrior; The  Lord  is His name!” (Exodus 15:3 NASB)

God knew how to defeat those enemies. It was not with overwhelming force, otherwise we all would have been casualties of war. God sent His Son to save us by being “wounded for our transgressions . . . bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) The Lord found a way to destroy sin without also destroying us.

Now go to where the Bible ends: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

That is when we really will have a perfect day, and another, and then another . . .

Delwyn Maas is pastor of Gift of God Lutheran Church in Mapleton, North Dakota, and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ponsford, Minnesota.