Can you think of a time in your own life like that described by Langdon Gilkey, when your own strength and virtue had come to an end? What was going on? Where did you turn?
The author writes, "God's capacity to do this [to make all things new] is the heart of the gospel." What does that mean to you? Is that the heart of the gospel as you understand it? Why or why not?
Behold, I make all things new. - Revelation 21:5 (KJV)
Here we are, in the last book of the Bible; and in the next-to-last chapter of that final book. We might expect a summation, a conclusion, or even a sunset and a "The End." Not happening.
The word of the Lord is: "Behold, I make all things new."
God's capacity to do this, when all our hope is gone and our own resources are spent, is the heart of the gospel. "Impossible" is where this God begins. We live under this promise.
That God can work a new thing doesn't mean there aren't endings. Relationships do end, as do careers and marriages.
The endings are real. And important. They bring us, often, to the end of our rope, that is to say, to the place where our own resources, strength or virtue aren't any longer sufficient or effective.
How many times when struggling to prepare a sermon have I thrown up my figurative hands and said, "I have nothing to say!" Only then, it seems, does God speak, does a word from the Lord come to me. How many times has "hopeless" has been spoken over a situation, when God opened a way. How many lives have been consigned to an end labeled "addiction," when God made a way out of no way.
Holy One, "I dare not trust this earthy frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." ("My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less," Edward Mote)