In the beginning of the Book is a story of God speaking a garden into existence, then handcrafting man to dwell in it. So He could enjoy communion with the man and his wife. The conclusion of the story of God is a palace, which He also crafted, to dwell in with His bride. In the beginning were two trees, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge that invoked death. In the end is only the tree of life, growing on either side of the crystal river, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, with leaves for the healing of the nations.
I am learning much about writing story. There is an element to good story-teling called “Narrative Arc”. In Elementary school, I was taught this in rudimentary form, with terms like “plot” and “resolve”. A well-written story will expose the problem and embrace the solution. It will take a narrative arc. It will not simply involve minor problems and solutions, but will make one, large arc spanning the entirety of the tale. It will expose the problem in it’s earliest pages, and resolve it completely in the end. There may be countless other problems along the journey, but they will all be sub-issues under the umbrella of the narrative arc.
The Bible’s narrative arc launches in the first chapter of Genesis and lands in the last in Revelation. God has made man for friendship with Himself. The problem: We chose the other tree… the one certain to lead us to death. To broken communion. Through the cross, God begins to resolve the problem of our shame (the greatest barrier to our communion). But in heaven, we see the fullness of resolve. We are fully restored to oneness with Him. In the palace prepared by the Bridegroom, we have much deeper intimacy than we did in Eden. The end is better than the beginning. We are embraced, not only as friend, but as Bride!
In any good story, the resolve makes the problem seem insignificant, because the resolution exceeds what we lost in the beginning. Through the suffering, we are brought to glory. In the midst of our folly and disobedience, God is bringing a deeper richness than we had to begin with. He is birthing majesty out of the mayhem!
If we are en route to the Celestial City, all of the sub-problems in our lives can be filtered through the lens of His resolve. We can have jubilance, knowing what’s coming at the end of this magnificent Story. We can even have hope knowing that the trials in life are meant to lead us nearer to Him. We can hope in the fullness of time’s grand finale. Because God is the impeccable Author of all goodness and grace, and this is His Magnum Opus!