This haunting photo was posted by our photographer friend David last week, from a National Geographic site. It immediately conjured images for me of Mt. Doom in Mordor, the smoldering hours and days after the ring was destroyed. The cost of redemption cannot be denied in this scene. The landscape, eerily devoid of life. The embers still glow, the merest hint of the raging fires that once spewed forth. The world is saved, the fire quenched . . . and yet the world is ash, the work of rebuilding looms so large as to seem impossible. Certainly the main characters in the final chapters bear scars that attest to the reality of the battle, even as they turn their attention to pints and songs and love.
So I went on line to find out where the photo actually came from, and the Lord of the Rings connection was not far off. This is a mountainside which once seethed in the unstoppable flames of a wildfire. Now it has ben tamed by firefighters and God and time. The war is won, but the battles continue. Mopping up any sparks that threaten to accelerate. Then replanting. Rebuilding. Reclaiming. Restoring.
Perhaps if we had the ability to put on something like night vision goggles, only they were angel-vision goggles, the world I normally see (Mt. Longonot from the Sorley's porch) like this:
Would be revealed to ACTUALLY look like the National Geographic photo above.
Revelations 12 gives the angel-goggle view of history. Our world, scorched by the dragon’s destructive hate, pauses, pulled away from the brink of immolation by the blood and innocence and love of a child. The sparks still smoulder, the pain of that costly battle still extracts a toll. But the restoration has begun, and God’s people plant the Rift full of acacias and olives and wildflowers once again.