“On each side of the river stood the tree of life …” (Revelation 22:2)
Here we have two very similar pictures of a river flowing from God — and on each side of the river the trees bear fruit every month. The picture in Revelation is a reminder and a completion of Ezekiel’s vision of the city called “The Lord Is There,” in which the waters of life and the tree of life mingle together.
Notice that the tree of life is not just one tree anymore but many trees on both sides of the river, as if all of the hope-filled moments along the way are gathered together into an orchard of hope, and the people who walk in this garden city are not just sprinkled, and are not merely wading, but are immersed in the presence of God — whole, healed, and gathered around the throne with gratitude and wonder at all that God has done.
The point of all this is to revel in God’s presence and to sing out how amazing it is that everything will turn out well in the end. It might be hard today — really hard for some of us — but even as we prayerfully imagine it now, we begin to experience the joy of heaven as we long to live in the perfect garden city where we are able to know and enjoy God.
May “the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
Lord our God, make this vision of hope and peace come alive in us. Sustain us in our everyday lives, and fill us with gratitude and wonder toward that day when we will see you face to face in the new heaven and earth. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen.