Those who were with Dallas Willard—philosopher, speaker, writer—when he died from pancreatic cancer in 2013, tell of the beauty and grace he demonstrated as he faced death. One of Dallas’ friends recalls that he said, “I taught on the Great Cloud of Witnesses and now I’m experiencing it. I am in heaven’s hallway and there is a large community coming for me. They are the most loving persons I’ve ever been around.” His last words before entering eternal life were simply, “Thank you.”
Willard’s dignified death points to the comfort Jesus gave to His disciples when He said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home” (John 14:1-2). Over and over in the Scriptures we’re reminded that this life is not all there is—we await a fuller life with God. And the Bible tells us that one day God will establish a renewed heaven and earth. As Isaiah wrote, “Look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17; see also Revelation 21:1).
Even while Jesus was hanging on the cross, His life ebbing away, He extended the invitation of eternal life with Him to a thief—writhing in agony on his own cross—who had trusted in Him (Luke 23:42-43). Yes, even while we mourn the sin, death, and destruction in this world, we rest in the truth that all things will be made new (Revelation 21:5).
With everything in me, I believe what the Bible reveals about the new heavens and new earth—and that God will be with us when we take our final breath in this life. Although we’ll face pain and trouble in the days ahead, may we trust in Jesus to provide what we need to offer lives of gratitude to Him!
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Genesis 22:1-19
Read Genesis 9:8-10 and reflect on God’s covenant, not only with Noah but also with all living creatures. Consider the hope God’s renewal of creation brings to all the world.
What do you long for God to make new? What can you do to more confidently live out your hope in Jesus?