A new heaven and a new earth…wars and persecutions; everything is in God’s hands…but some of you have to get off your duffs and get to work if you want to eat—those things don’t seem to go together. But they do. Our seemingly contradictory lessons speak of endings and beginnings —times of trial, times of peace, the best of times and the worst of times. God is a God who brings life out of death, who creates new worlds out of old chaos. Just as there is no painless birth, so there is no painless future. Christians are those who can live with the present pain and difficulty in the hope that God is working a new, glorious future for us in the midst of present challenges.