We’re suckers for home renovation shows.
A dozen years ago, it was Trading Spaces. (Remember that show? It kinda put TLC on the map.) Then it was the Extreme Home Makeover craze. About five years ago, Sunny and I fell in love with House Hunters. Now there’s House Hunters International, Flip or Flop, Property Brothers…trust me, there’s a lot of them. Most recently, we’ve started watching Fixer Upper. Since today was a
snow day no-school day, we all sat down to watch the latest episode. It was amazing to see Chip and Joanna completely gut this old farm house in Waco and turn it into a showpiece property. With a little imagination and a lot of manpower (not to mention cash), this decades-old dilapidated home was transfigured into a brand new, opulent living space complete with hardwood floors, granite countertops and (of course) stainless steel appliances. I have to say, it was quite an impressive renovation.
Have you ever wondered why we’re so infatuated with these kinds of shows? The premise never changes: find a property and — in ways both great and small — restore it, renew it, renovate it. Why are these programs so popular?
I believe it’s because renewal is the hope of creation.
I’m currently reeling from some painful news that’s sent me into something of an emotional tailspin. It’s brought up a lot of old memories for me, a lot of sorrow, and opened some fresh wounds that will take considerable time to heal. Honestly, dealing with grief has been a constant in my life for many years…and it just gets old. And it’s easy to feel as if I’m starting this new year with a heavy burden on my shoulders.
I’ve decided to read Ecclesiastes as I begin a new year in the Scriptures. And tonight I came across these words from Kohelet, also known as “The Teacher”:
Everything is wearisome, more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, the ear not filled up with hearing. What has been is what will be, what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there something of which it is said, “See, this is new?” It existed already in the ages before us. (Eccl. 1:8-10, CJB)
As odd as it sounds, I found these words to be comforting, even life-giving. While some might think of this as a “downer” text, I’m thankful to have found these words tonight. I feel as if I’ve found a companion; I’ve found a biblical witness to give voice to what I’m feeling right now. Everything is wearisome to me right now. All of this feels too familiar, like the fifth verse to a song that won’t end. A new year, but the “same old, same old.”
In Kohelet, the Teacher, I have a compatriot for the days when renewal seems remote and distant. For this, I’m giving thanks tonight.
But the hope for renewal remains ever-present, buoyed by the scope of God’s most inclusive promise in the Bible’s closing scene:
I am making all things new. (Rev. 21:5)
From His glorious throne, God answers Kohelet’s question. “Is there anything new?” the Teacher asks. According to the Sovereign King, yes.
All things are made new.
According to the One seated on the throne, all things are renovated, all things are transfigured, all things are renewed by the power of His spoken word. In John’s vision, the loud voice emanates from the throne, declaring the end of tears, death, mourning, and pain. We rejoice as the old order passes away, replaced by new heavens and a new earth.
The story of God ends in glory.
That’s why we love those renovation shows. They point to the glorious end when all things are renewed and restored, made right once more by our Sovereign God.
This is the hope of creation.