Posted by: Terry | November 22, 2016

How long God?

The questions on the lips of many faithful followers of God are the same questions his followers have asked for the last 4,000 plus years: “What are you doing God?” “How long will this last?” “God, what are you thinking?”

Two thousand years ago, in an upstairs room in Jerusalem, Jesus comforted his disciples in perilous times. His countrymen were ruled by the iron fist of a Roman army, they longed for release and freedom. Jesus, who they had left everything to follow in the expectation that he would be the one to bring the revolution they longed for, instead predicted his imminent death, dashing their hopes for the future. That Friday he would die, added to the thousands that hung on crosses of slow death along the roads, powerful Roman intimidation.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” The comfort Jesus offered is the same comfort that has sustained believers from the beginning of time, it is the Message, the Word, of God. “Believe in God; believe also in me.”

Something happened that Friday that changed the world. Even the most hardened skeptic and agnostic must accept that for whatever reason the world changed because of the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the self proclaimed initiator of a new kingdom, the one who claimed to be from God and to be God. Accept his statements as false if you would, yet the world began to change and a movement was started by those who did believe.

What did happen that Good Friday? Was his death some kind of a pagan-like religious sacrifice, an innocent victim offered up to placate an angry deity? Was its purpose to produce some type of Platonic ethereal future existence for his followers, whisked away from this evil world to an eternity of ghostlike existence in the clouds? I think not.

“Believe in God; believe also in me.” This is shorthand for the story of God and his creation from the beginning. Believe in God, the creator and the sustainer, who desired to have communion and relationship with his creation. God who from the beginning planned and covenanted to restore that relationship when it was damaged. God who promised to Abraham to bless the world, who called a people Israel out of the bondage of Egypt for the purpose of forming them into a people who would show God to the world; they failed and ultimately ended up in bondage once again.

God, who promised to raise up one man who would be representative not only of Israel in bondage, but all of the world in bondage; this one who would take on himself the failures of the world and on that Good Friday end the bondage, free the exiled. God who acted  “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” God “who was in the world, reconciling the world.”

“Believe in God; believe also in me.” Believe in the God who is working this all out, and believe that it is Jesus, the promised Messiah, who was talking to them at that very moment, who would soon die, and who they would see living again as proof of the success of his mission. Believe that Jesus was who he said he was, but more. Believe that in Jesus and the cross there was a new Exodus taking place, a new freeing of the whole world, a new kingdom released.

Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world, but it is real. We, who believe and act on the knowledge that the Messiah has come, that a new people are called, members of his Divine Kingdom on this not so divine earth, are his representatives and instruments to bring the heavenly kingdom to this planetary world.

How long? Why? I don’t know. Jesus told us to pray and live, “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We have two great commissions; Worship God as creator and Lord, bring His kingdom to earth in the way we live each day.

The Psalm writers wrote as we would write, “How long Lord must this evil last? We worship and hope in you.” Today we also are overwhelmed by the world and its evils, but God is in charge, he is working out his seemingly too long and slow plan. But if God is who he says he is, our strength in trials comes from the quiet conviction and faith, that we “Believe in God.”

“Believe also in me.” Jesus is the Messiah, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus is changing the world, its not on me. My role is to live each day as a foreigner in this land, demonstrating what life is like in the Kingdom of light. Each moment we show hope in the face of fear or love in the face of hate we are bringing a bit of God’s kingdom to earth. And each time, we are comforted by the realization that we, “Believe in God; believe also in me.”

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Responses

  1. The bible says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding” God is always in control and has a reason for whatever happens.


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