There is a park about two miles from our house. I know that it is two miles because we have all ridden our bikes there before, the small ones being pulled in a bike trailer, and after such a feat, the kids wanted to know just how far they had gone.
We’ve been visiting this park for fifteen years. My kids call it Dragon Park. That is not it’s name. But, there is a large plastic dragon head that kids can climb on, and from the very beginning that is how it has been remembered.
We just spent two hours there this afternoon. It’s one of my daughters’ birthdays and that is what she wanted to do for her special day. Some of the kids took their skates and skated on the walking track while I walked two miles as well. Afterwards the kids played on the playground, while I sat on a bench watching the action.
One of my girls found a classmate playing and they had a great time together. The four year old found other kids his size and they all ran around squealing together, playing who-knows-what. A dad with a little tiny girl, maybe 8 months old, walked past, he was holding her hands to help her walk, and the little one stopped and stared at me. Dad, embarrassed, nodded hi and apologetically said, “She likes to stare.” I grinned back, said hi to the sweet little thing, happy that she happened to walk past me. She was adorable.
More families showed up while I was sitting and watching. Dads with toddlers. Grandmas with grandsons. Hovering moms. All colors. All sizes and shapes.
As far as parks go, it’s really not a big park. There is a walking track, about a quarter of a mile round that circles the park and a green field. There is a small pavilion with four picnic tables and bathrooms in the back. It usually has a nice water fountain with a place to fill water bottles, but Covid seems to have shut that feature down. There is lots of fun playground equipment, and on one end, a rock garden with some young trees and a tall metal post that, in the summer, lets off a cooling spray when you press the big silver button.
It is wide open, not many trees, and I always feel the presence of the sky when I am sitting there, face turned to the sun’s rays.
Today, while I was walking the track, I turned on my Bible app and listened to the book of Revelation being read out loud. And I’ll tell you what my impression was, as I walked in our quiet little park, the sound of children’s laughter everywhere. The main thought that ran through my head was, This is All Too Big For Me. Throne rooms with mystic creatures, judgements, a march of events that cannot be stopped. The awesomeness of being in the presence of God. I felt very small and frankly, quite content in my smallness. I like my life here. I like my family. I like the routine I have carved out for myself. I like life to continue in the patterns that I’m used to. I love Jesus, but today, the thought of being in front of his throne, in front of his Holiness and his Majesty…that felt overwhelming.
And then there are all the judgements. Do I have to figure out when and where and how? Cause honestly, it all sounds baffling.
As I was sitting on the bench in my little park, the last chapter of Revelation came through my headphones. And one section stood out to me.
“10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
12 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Revelation 22: 10-12
I know for certain that Jesus is going to return and when he returns, there will be judgement. And I can rest in knowing that everything that happens here on this earth, now and in the future, is in God’s hands. But, in the meantime, let the righteous continue to be righteous, the holy continue to be holy. And our righteousness and holiness come from being in Christ. And while there is a sense of urgency to fulfill The Great Commission, to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all the world, after all, judgement is coming for everyone either at death or when Jesus returns…despite that urgency, I also felt peace. I don’t know when all these things are going to happen that Revelation speaks about. I don’t know what it is really going to look like. But I do know that today, I will enjoy being at the park. I will love my children, love my neighbor, do the work that is put in front of me. Live the life that is given me today. And that is enough for now.