When all we long for is progress, He fulfills that promise. When history keeps repeating and we realize that humanity is still just as broken as it always was, Jesus renews our hope and calms the storms of anxiety. He reveals the micro-miracles in every heart redeeming every evil for good.
As someone who writes historical fiction about the period before and during the Exile of Israel to Babylon, I must say that I don’t hear as many pastors or Bible teachers teach about it as I’d wish. So, in case you’ve never heard the set up for this period of Bible history, let me paint up some contextual canvass for you, based on WAY too much research that I do for writing my books.
Today we see the same kinds of oppression and the people who suffer it all around us. God hears their cries and He is moved to compassion with action for justice. We see it in every ally who stands up to defend the oppressed, bring justice to the defenseless, and provide generously for the needy. We see God working through people who care for one another. He is not unmoved.
I have a desire to be smart, or maybe just to look smart to others. When God sees fit to humble me, I catch a glimpse of true, Gospel-wisdom. It’s in these moments that it ceases to matter how much I know and becomes imperative that I know Jesus. That I understand His love and His grace and His power to make me more like Him.
My opinion about the bottom line: sometimes the ends (salvations, and especially “church growth”) do NOT justify any and every means, especially when those means include corruption, abuse, and misuse of spiritual power. Especially because those salvations can sometimes end up in a soul abortion, and that church growth can subsequently end up in a complete collapse of the church and people walking away from God for good. Those are often the ends in the end, and therefore do not justify any means.
I often find myself getting caught up in the distractions of this world, forgetting that my treasure is laid up in heaven and His name is Jesus, as well as forgetting that I am His treasure, which He is in the process of preparing, making me holy and glorious for the day I will see His face. Car troubles, gas prices, utility bills, doctor visits, and what to fix for dinner often crowd out any illuminating thoughts of God or the heavenly treasures He has in store for me. It’s no wonder my hope fades as my mind is dulled.
It’s become a cheesy Christian-ese trope to say “wait on God and trust in His Word” but that doesn’t make it untrue or unbiblical. I wish I could push that imaginary “get what I want now” button Tozer mentions, but I can’t. I’ve had to wait for just about everything I ever wanted.
When you or a friend received an engagement ring, did your confidence in that relationship increase? Of course it did! You knew the fiancé and fiancée were serious about their commitments—so serious that he put his money where his mouth was and “put a ring on it.”
I once read a story about a young woman named Maya from the brothels of India’s Red Light District whose mother had been trafficked since the age of eleven. Maya’s own mother was forced to turn her daughter into the madam also when she came of age, and Maya had been abused and raped as a child in the hostel where her mother sent her to live, thinking it would be safer than the brothel. Maya was trafficked for sex until she could take no more and escaped from her captors and abusers.
There is no country on earth, not even America, that would constitute as the Kingdom of God. And also, the Kingdom of God has come, according to Jesus in the Gospels. But where is it? Where do we see it among our neighborhoods and communities? Who can give me directions?