I never noticed until this week that the Bible ends where it began: at a tree.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)
The last time we saw the tree of life was when Adam and Eve were being ushered out of the Garden of Eden to prevent them from eating of the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-23). Now, as Scripture’s narrative draws to a close, here once again is the tree of life. No longer is it tucked away in a garden guarded by an angel. Now, it is in the middle of the new Jerusalem, in the middle of the street it seems, its fruit and leaves available not only to a few people but to anyone and everyone who passes by.
As I consider this image, I think of how many times I think perfect happiness or perfect peace is just out of reach. “If only I had a little more time”. “If I only we made a little more money”. “If only we had a little bigger house”. “If only I can get through this week”. It feels like the tree of life is on the other side of a fence that is just a little too tall to climb.
What I am struck by as I read Revelation is that perfect happiness and perfect peace is not found in more time, more money, bigger houses, or less stress. It is only in the presence of the living Lord that truly perfect joy and truly perfect peace will be experienced. And the day is coming when we will so freely be in God’s presence that we will be able to just reach out and pluck a juicy fruit of contentment or roll in the leaves of perfect healing. In the meantime, maybe I need to focus more on getting more of the one who planted the tree of life in the first place. He is the one who can put all of that other stuff into proper perspective.