All Things New!
Toward the end of the Christian New Testament, there is a sentence that envisions what God will say about the task of renewing the world. It is an all-encompassing statement found in the book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 5. “Behold! I make all things new!” God exclaims.
For one who was raised on the words of the Christian Scriptures, this verse rings with clarity and power because it speaks of the resolution of everything that is uncertain, imperfect, unjust, and unknown.
Yesterday was October 22, which is a date that is very familiar to those raised in the Seventh-day Adventist tradition. It was on this day in 1844 that a segment of Christian believers was waiting for Jesus to come again.
They had misinterpreted the Scriptures. Jesus did not come as expected. The believers spent the whole day waiting and were disappointed. It was a moment so devastating that ever since that day Seventh-day Adventists have called October 22, 1844, “the Great Disappointment.”
But the story didn’t end there. Eventually, they went back to their Bibles and read it again. They went back and checked their work; they reexamined the data points and started with a clean piece of paper. The Great Disappointment was fresh in their minds, so they set the date-setting aside and looked for something else. And what they found gave rise to new ways of thinking, new ways of prioritizing, and new ideas about what it means to pay attention to the life that God has for us—to understand that the plan of God has always been to “make all things new.”
They began to understand that what God had promised to create was not something that would be done only in the future—it was something that starts right here and now. How we live out our lives, our health and happiness, is anchored in God’s care that begins the moment we are born and does not wait for a far-off day.
I like to think that it was at that moment that Adventist HealthCare was born. It was some of those early believers who eventually organized the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their leaders came to Takoma Park in 1905, looking for a place to establish a new center for healing. And everything that we do at Adventist HealthCare started with that center.
When we extend God’s care through the ministry of physical, mental, and spiritual healing, we are continuing the work that those pioneers established. There may have been a disappointment somewhere in the past—but our future is very much about God’s intent to make all things new!