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June Newsletter-Future

The past few months I’ve written about Prayer, Revelation, Hope, Incarnation, and Miracles, all of which I’ve never written about before during the 27 years of WBVN.  This month: the Future, well kind of.

I don’t really mean the kind of future we see on a calendar or think of as our future dwelling place in the Heaven of God.  In some unique way, only a great God could pull off the future that I’m writing about. That’s because not only is our future coming, it’s already come.  This future is both here and yet it has not come into full view just yet.   But, it’s a future that (wrap your brain around this), in Jesus’ own words, is neither in waiting or in hiding.  Actually, his words suggest the future is already present –that the ‘the Kingdom of God is come’ and is coming all at the same time. Perhaps a hint of it can be found in Paul’s implication that believers have already died, not to die again.

Let’s start here with these two points: With God it’s possible for the glorious to co-exist within the deplorable.  Also, God is able to be present here and yet never leave the realm of Heaven.  God, through Christ, has made it possible for us to experience the Wonderful while living in the rebellious, the peaceful inside the chaotic.  Jesus started something that was never present before on earth.  He did not change the politic, the economic, or even the flesh, but nonetheless, His Life, Burial and Resurrection left this world in the middle of a new future. Not a future that would simply come someday down the road, but one that has already begun and continues on its way to the fruition of the manifestation of the Son of Man.  The Kingdom of God is simply any place that He is present and He is present everywhere in the form of the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit of the Father.  Now, this future, the one already present, is God’s (Father, Son and Spirit’s) way of living in our lives while we live in this messed up world.  They’re not absent to be joined with us later, they’re present and to be experienced now. God so loved the world that he gave and stayed in it.  Stayed in an intimate relationship with it.  The future came to us, stepped into our creation and corruption; His Name was Jesus Christ.

I heard a story once about a woodcarver who was being interviewed about the beauty of his work.  When asked how he could possibly take a block of wood and carve such an inspiring eagle, his response was that he just cuts away everything that’s not eagle.  Inside that wood block was something that, while we could not see it, was present just the same.  Something about what Christ has done can be revealed by peeling away the layers of earth that are simply not the Gospel.  After the crucifixion, Jesus definitely affirmed that those people standing beside him were standing in the Kingdom of God.  Said that in the bleakness of having been rejected, alienated and crucified.  Yet, right in the middle of the very air they breathed was air of the Kingdom.  Only God can make that possible, make it true.  That day, their senses surely told them something different; their fleshly experiences surely seemed to make Jesus appear as the most unknowing or at the worst most ignorant man that had ever walked the earth.  But, somehow, Jesus knew that a cosmic turning had taken place.  A turning that, yes, had a future hope but also a present purpose.  The Kingdom of God surrounded them in that very moment!

Surely, we’ve become suspicious that doing anything about the past or the future is pretty much impossible.  I know we try to control both but to little avail.  However, if we could whittle away both the past and our attempt to do life our way (our plans), we’re really only left with today.  Today is what Jesus taught us to take thought of.  Reality is now.  The future imaged by our flesh has no guarantee of ever being real.  The Kingdom of God is today, it’s placed within our moment and we’re encouraged to take no thought of tomorrow.  That’s exactly the opposite of everything we’re taught as children, as students at school and as professionals of whatever career we choose.  We can, in small steps I think, learn to trust in today, just get through this moment, and learn that tomorrow will take care of itself.  I know that’s too much to accomplish in one newsletter or perhaps even months of conversation, but something about it is validated by the very fact that it was the Spirit of Christ who said it.  It’s taken me years to experience in any consistent form. Many times I think if I could have only started ‘in my future’ not my past or my present, how much easier life would have been.

Most of our time thinking about our future is mixed with a good dose of fear for the unknown.  I think what ‘cooks’ that into our hearts is because our futures are almost always imaged as being alone and without Father, Son and Spirit.  In our thinking, most of our futures are imagined as bleak.  However, even if we could look far into tomorrow and beyond, the one truth above all truths is: God is there, He’s in the middle of all that.  He’s been here with you in the past and He’s going to be with you in what we call a future (if that’s what you prefer to call it).  Actually, he doesn’t call it that, God calls it all ‘today’.  Now is the appointed day for God.  When we step from this life into the next, we will simply step into an eternal day, not night or day, no sun or moon, simply one very eternal day. That will be true tomorrow and forever.  Let me just say this at the risk of the guys with the white coats coming in and grabbing me as I type.  A new creation has already begun. Something new was added to the old.  Just because we don’t see the fullness of it doesn’t mean that we’re not right in the middle of it.

Until the fullness of His manifestation comes, as believers, we’re put to service to make more ‘bits’ of the new creation happen within the world as it still is.  We live in a future that’s already ticking away, an eternity that has already taken root, live in a victory in a war that’s already been won.

The future has come to us in Christ, now we can step into that future.  For sure the world is still doing all the things it did before, but there’s one added ingredient– a new creation sits within it.  We may not, in fact it appears in scripture as though we won’t, get our act together to bring Heaven to earth.  He has already and will always do that.  There’s a commercial that says, “I got your six.”  In the military, “Got your six” means I’ve got your back. It originated with World War I fighter pilots referencing a pilot’s rear side as the six o’clock position.  Let me assure you, He has our six.  If it depended on me or you, this Gospel and its future would be in trouble.  God is going to see this through; He will see that the end is exactly as He promised.

The Kingdom of God that Jesus secured and delivered to us is not hidden behind a planet in the Milky Way, not on another ‘earth environment’ somewhere.  The Son of God actually came from outside the stars, separated from all the universes, to be born of a woman, in a manger, in a not so sterile environment, stepped into an earth suit, patiently sat around a fire talking to his disciples, volunteered to suffer a most cruel and unjust death, just to be with you.  God, for the first time since Eden, walked and talked with His creatures.  Shared with them, gave vision to them and placed in this world the opportunity for us to Live in His Life in the middle of this earthly life.

He stands at the door of our world encouraging us to let Him step into our day to day.  He didn’t die that we might only go to Heaven some day, he died so that we might have Life, experience that more abundantly and do that now.  Living with Him is the future and that has not been delayed.  I’ve heard that Life in songs and poems, felt it in embraces, in kindnesses, in the look of a mother and child, in a father and a son.  I’ve seen that Life at reunions of family or friends, at hospitals and cemeteries.  His Kingdom is something stronger than this breath. It lays itself on top of the hurts and heals when healing seems so far away.  A new creation has been ushered into this creation and sits, today, inside this experience.

In 2012 when Jane was paralyzed head to toe, unable to speak, all her organs had failed; in a very practical sense Jane had no physical life except pain.  Months after her recovery, her expression to me was that the distance between this world and His world was as thin as a breath.  Actually, there was no distance in that moment.  In that environment, all Fear was cast away.  All Peace came right in the middle of Chicago, of all places, right there in an IC unit in a hospital, of all places, there in a cold, dark, painful paralysis. The Kingdom of God was present in the presence of a personal Jesus Christ.  No person can produce that by human will.  No person can fool themselves or con themselves into experiencing the presence of God.  Only a real place, only Heaven in the real world, can produce that kind of Calm.  Only a great God could pull off our future and place it in our now and chaotic world.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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