Looking Forward to What is New
John Telgren


I am not old. I reminded myself of that this last weekend. I have been told it is more a state of mind. It wasn't until visiting the campus of Harding University last week that it hit me how long it had been since I was a student there, and how long it had been since I was a student at York College.

The remodeled Heritage Center now had a new entry hallway that was full of photos around Harding, including one historical section of photos. These black and white pictures included the burning of the Mortgage with George Benson, the unveiling of the Harding University Arch when Harding College became Harding University, and the dedication of the new Jim Bill McInteer Bible Building. I am not sure why they made the photo of the dedication black and white. We were there for the dedication ceremony. I supposed they made it black and white to match the other photos in the historical section that were also black and white.

My children sometimes say, "Face it, you're old!" Middle aged is not old. However, a lot of years has passed since my college days. I was a student at York College in the middle 1980's. This was before mullets were called mullets, when guys parting their hair down the middle was in, when teenagers owned classic muscle cars, when home computers were a novelty, and virtually no one had a cell phone, although a few had car phones.

I used to relish change. However, with each passing year, change becomes more difficult to deal with. For good or worse, the world is a different place than it was when I grew up. There are times I long for the simplicity of earlier days. But my memory of the past, like so many other people, is probably idealized. I remember my grandmother questioning her adult children about their passion for collecting "antiques." "Why would you want to get the OLD stuff?" She would ask. "The new things we have are so much better than the old stuff we used to have." Even though she had fond memories of the past, she didn't idealize the past.

Consider this passage: "Do not say, 'Why is it that the former days were better than these?' For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this" (Eccl 7:10).

From God's perspective, the future is better than the past. Since the beginning, God has been moving us toward the culmination of his plan. God is transforming us, and in the process of transforming others through our work. In the end, he will destroy sin and death and everything that goes along with it. To those who overcome, he will grant to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God (Rev 2:7).

Truly, the end is better than the beginning. The entire drama of redemption is always forward looking. From Abraham who looked forward to an eternal city, to Moses who looked forward to a new home, to us who look forward to the place our Lord is preparing for us, we are always looking forward to what God will do next. Even though the world gets old, wears out, and changes, God is making all things new.