Because of some intractable circumstances in my life, I get hit by feelings of powerlessness & hopelessness on a fairly regular basis. This morning, I re-read something I wrote 8 months ago about Tolkien’s eucatastrophe in a book review. /1
Eucatastrophe refers to a sudden, joyful turn of events at the end of a story when all seems lost—the kind that reveals that rescue was woven into the grand narrative from the very beginning, in spite of all the hair-raising plot twists, losses, defeats, & moments of despair. /2
He made the argument that God specialized in eucatastrophe, but he didn’t do so as some emotionally disconnected master puppeteer. On the contrary, God was/is an intimate and bodily participant in the suffering, drama, and redemption of humankind. /3
Tolkien wrote, “The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation.”

And Jesus’s return to make everything new (Rev. 21:5) will be the eucatastrophe of death, pain, and suffering. /4
His return will bring a sudden glimpse of previously unseen truth—that, all along, all things have been in the process of being restored. /5
That means everything we do here and now, no matter how seemingly insignificant or futile, is being woven into that mighty arrival, that joyful rescue, that stunning renewal and resurrection. /6
This is the essence of Christian hope. It’s what empowers us to live and toil faithfully in the constant, unresolvable tensions of the difficult present, ones that will outlive us. There’s nothing sentimental about this hope. It takes real effort to hold onto it. /7
As Eric McLaughlin, the author of Promises in the Dark, wrote, it’s hard to “hope in the promises of God while our feet still pound the dust of a world full of brokenness.” /8
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