“Enough. Enough now.”
-That guy in ‘Love Actually’ who also fights zombies on ‘The Walking Dead’
Like Jacob the night before meeting Esau, we all set-up camp alongside the Jabbok and endure seasons of struggle and storm. If you’ve followed my blog these last months I’ve tried to be honest about struggling with faith issues and the need to think through a few questions. But as Dr. Seuss so eloquently said in ‘The Places You’ll Go’ -the waiting place is not for you. It is only a place of rest -too many people make it their home. So before the Hakken-Kraks get me, I am breaking camp alongside the river and moving to green pastured thoughts. This doesn’t mean I’ve solved all my struggles, but it is time to share what I think I think.
I think a new world will break through this old broken one when God decides it is time, and it will be more than we can imagine. More inspiring than halos and wings are the images of a defeated evil one and a world set right by eradicating sin and death. Greed will no longer infiltrate systems, corruption will become extinct, and violence will be no more. Our days will be spent in a divine mixture of work and worship…and we will never attend a funeral. And I don’t know how it will physically happen, but Jesus will be present. He will talk with us and we’ll hear his laugh. It will be very good.
However, that day hasn’t arrived yet. We remain in the muck of this embattled world, continuing to be affected by consequences of sin and fear of death. Our morality is broken, but so are our eyes, heads and hearts. All creation groans. The river of justice flows more like a stream while we cry out from her banks, “How long, O Lord?”
Sometimes we teach Christianity like The Claw from ‘Toy Story.’ We go about our usual business and every now and then The Claw reaches down, scoops one of us up and takes us to the promised land. It is worthy of our worship because it decides who will stay and who will go. (The metaphor really works in ‘Toy Story 3′ when The Claw saves everyone from the eternal fire.)
I don’t think this is what the New Testament teaches. Scripture teaches God has dirty hands. In the beginning of the Old Testament God hovered over creation. In the beginning of the New Testament God dwelt among creation. Rather than creating an entirely new space and cherry-picking only the best humans to populate it, God has chosen to work within this world -transforming it from the inside out- until it properly reflects Him and his love the way he originally designed. God is a fixer-upper. His divine patience with us comes from his immense love. The key word in the New Testament isn’t salvation, but redemption. We have more than a Savior to pluck us from the mire -we have a Redeemer who turns our wailing into dancing!
So until that day when we will stop counting days, God is working. He is working inside our hearts and minds, and through our hands and feet. We wait with expectation, but know there is work to be done. We must get our hands dirty too.