Do you ever feel like you’re caught between what you want to do and what you have to do instead? Do you ever struggle between some kinds of business principles or workplace rules and those of the Kingdom? And does it ever get so frustrating that you have a blow up or a break down? You know, really lose it? I do.
I simply thought from Jesus this morning that He knows we’re prone to frustration and anxiety and outbursts of temper: “I can’t handle this!” And He has not one iota of condemnation for us—not one. I think He wants you to know that.
You and I are living while caught between two worlds—the temporal and the eternal. The one we can see, and the one we can’t. The one that passes away, and the one that lasts forever. Just as the world in which we fit and belong—the heavenly one—begins to get into focus—“I can see it! I can taste it!”—the other one comes barging in. I can be enjoying the day, knowing Jesus and trusting in Him, when suddenly something worldly knocks me over . . . or knocks me mad or regretful. This stupid and horrible pandemic. Politicians fighting over nonessentials. A sleepless night of worry that makes me edgy around my family, grumpy on social media, terse when asked for my opinion. And, let me tell you, it all starts adding up and boiling over.
Or maybe I read someone’s facebook post that’s supposed to encourage me, but it’s got so much, you know, over-the-top, “everything and everyone is beautiful, life is good, butterflies for everyone!” junk that I want to throw up on their post. It’s like I’m happily flirting with spiritual maturity, and then it rudely breaks up with me. “Not happening, baby breath! Change your diaper, Ralph!” I don’t like it at all.
But the truth is that I’m no less of an attractive target for the life, love and grace of God Himself than I was yesterday. Maybe I’m a bigger target. “Hooray for me!” I can imagine a picture of my face on a big billboard alongside the freeway with the title: “God’s most needy.” Frankly, we’re all in competition for that title; I just think I’m winning.
I know that none of us really wants to be the most needy place for God’s work today. But, if it’s true, He doesn’t mind. He doesn’t have something better to do. When you consider how He moved in order to get to the most needy during His days among us, do you think He’ll stop before getting to you, repulsed by your neediness? No way. He’s really good with you. He’s Perfect.
And He doesn’t have far to go in order to get to you, right?
Romans 5:5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. (Where’s the glory or evidence of God going to show up best? In me. In you.) 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Parenthesis mine.)
So if you’re having one of those sloppy, stuck-in-between days, take a moment to breathe. There is such purpose to this life, and through it all, God holds us securely in Christ, holy and righteous, priests of the earth.
While this life is a mess, the next one won’t be. But in the next one there won’t be any chance to live by faith in what we cannot see, no opportunity to grow and succeed in the battle against temptation, no one to introduce to Jesus, no one to forgive, no friend we need to pray for, no groceries to buy for a neighbor or a down-and-outer, and no growing in Christ and the fruit of the Spirit in us. All done. Complete. Nothing will be in-between anymore. Everything will be exactly—way beyond exactly—as our hearts long for it to be.
That will be such a good day! It’s just not today.