I once visited an urban farm organized by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The IRC relocates refugees from ravaged countries and helps them establish a new life. Since many refugees grew up in an agrarian lifestyle, farming can be a natural way for them to rebuild their lives. Portions of the farmland simply grow wild each year, allowing the soil to rest. Then, in the year to follow, they till the grass back into the dirt, using it to enrich the soil that will help nourish the crops they’ll eventually harvest.

This image helps us better understand Revelation 21, where John gives us God’s vision of the future and describes how “the old heaven and the old earth [will disappear]” (Revelation 21:1). We might be tempted to think this means that the world we know will be obliterated, but I believe John is describing how our world will be transformed and made new. Like the grass tilled into the earth for a richer harvest, the old world is to be remade into “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

This is why John says that in God’s new world, “the sea [will also be] gone” (Revelation 21:1). In Scripture, the sea often represents chaos and disorder, the violent and terrifying forces that threaten to overwhelm and destroy. God, John promises, will remove the terror and the madness (Revelation 21:4). Even more, John describes how Jesus stands, alive and powerful, inviting all people to come to Him and drink the water that nourishes and revives. “To all who are thirsty,” Jesus says, “I will give freely from the springs of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6).

In Jesus, the whole world will be made new. In Jesus, raging seas will be transformed into springs of life. In Jesus, our deepest sorrows and fears will be healed.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Philippians 2:1-18