I settled down in the sofa and watched the first in a new series of The Great British Bake Off last night. It's a programme that is sweet to taste and warms you on the inside, like a freshly baked Victoria sponge. It shows so much that is good about human nature: creativity, camaraderie, even compassion as contestants help one another out to avert cake disaster. We laughed with Sue and Mel, we wanted to comfort Candice in her tears, we had to agree that the Christian minister made the worst cakes.

But life isn't always like Bake Off.

The real news yesterday was the devastating Italian Earthquake with its ever rising death toll and the brutal murder of a British girl in a backpacking hostel in Australia. 

Daily we are faced with the fact that we bear the image of a God who is creative, compassionate and loving. And yet at the same time, because we have turned our backs on our loving creator, we are selfish, capable of senseless evil, and have brought God's curse on our world. 

But it won't always be like this.

Jesus said that the news should remind us of his return. Mark 13:8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

The agony of the world around us reminds us that one day, soon, there will be a beautiful new world. Like the on set of labour, pain points to new life. A perfect new creation brought in by God through His Son the Lord Jesus. Purchased at the cost of his brutal death at the cross. Demonstrated in his glorious resurrection from the dead. 

The daily tension we face between beauty and brutality, between sacrifice and selfishness, between life and death should lead us to long for that last day when we will see Jesus face to face. And it should drive us to share the good news that this glorious future is open to all who will follow Him.