I want to be better about writing.
Honestly, how much or how little I write reveals how well I am taking care of myself. Because when I’m rested and fulfilled, I can’t help but write. But when I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, and depleted, writing is just another chore. It’s interesting how I sometimes avoid what I need most.
This week, two things in particular caught my attention.
1) The war is not over.
It’s true that when Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, he gave us the right to become children of God and as his children we get to share in his victory over death. That is amazing! But people still die. People still endure insurmountable suffering. What the heck? How can this be good news? Because with Christ, death and suffering is not the end of the story. And there is a bigger story at play that has yet to be completed. We do not become immortal when we become Christians, but we do inaugurate the coming kingdom of God with transformation and renewal.
Does anyone really understand the concept of the Kingdom being now but not yet? How can it be finished and not complete at the same time? How does death and resurrection coexist? Is it linear? Is it outside of time?
I’ve swung on a lot of pendulums in my life and this is no exception. As a child, the Kingdom was Heaven…a place you go after you die, but not much more. As a young adult, the Kingdom was all here and now…today is the day for victory because heaven is here inside of me. Both seem to forsake either the now or the not yet of the God’s kingdom. And neither promote faithfulness to a covenant relationship with Christ.
This week, I’ve been pondering this tension and the significance of the war that rages on around us. If we as Christians deny that there is a war going on, we are burying our heads in the sand and offering no help or hope to the world. I was blown away by an analogy by a scholar named Oscar Cullman.
“He compared Christ’s first coming to a decisive battle in a war (like D-Day in WWII, which determined the course of the war), and Christ’s second coming to the victory of that war (like VE-Day when the Allies finally triumphed in Europe). Whereas the decisive battle for the kingdom of God has been won by Christ’s death and resurrection, we still live in a time of struggle – the war continues. Nevertheless the outcome is assured and will be effectuated at the second coming.” (Plantinga, An Introduction to Christian Theology)
So don’t put down your weapons. Don’t throw away your shield. Stand firm and be courageous, ready to fight. And along those same lines…
2) It’s not about me.
This came up twice this week. After the second time hearing it while listening to a podcast from a church in Atlanta, I jotted some things down in my journal.
Pray. Stay close to God. DAY by DAY. It’s not about you. It’s bigger. Find your place in the larger story that is ultimately not about you. Be faithful…faithful with what you have and where you are. It’s not about you.
Basically…get perspective. There is a lot more to this world, to the cosmos, to eternity…than me and my little life. God holds me closely and intimately cares for me, but it’s not about me.
I’m reminding of one of my favorite lines in the musical Les Miserables:
“Marius, you’re no longer a child
I do not doubt you mean it well
But now there is a higher call.
Who cares about your lonely soul?
We strive towards a larger goal
Our little lives don’t count at all!”
What is the higher call for us today? What is the larger goal we strive toward? The sooner we realize what it is, the sooner we realize that our little lives don’t count at all.