There are many beautiful and powerful passages in the Bible prophesying or promising God’s full reign on earth. God will create “new heavens and a new earth.” “Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more.” “They shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.” “God will put God’s law within the people, and write it on their hearts.” “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more.”
Some of us know the agony of waiting more than others. A mother longs for her challenged child to be able to overcome his limitations and live a fulfilling life. But she waits in the darkness, not knowing. African-Americans wonder how long their dream of true freedom and equality will be deferred. Waiting so long for the reality of the wellbeing promised, we face a number of temptations. One is to assume that God simply does not exist, that solving the world’s problems (and ours) is all up to us. Other responses are hopelessness, despair, anger, and self-righteousness, which tend to be self-destructive. Instead how can we hold onto the beauty and comfort of these promises and find value in the waiting and darkness?
I believe that living in hope brings a better world than living in hopelessness. I think we have glimpses or moments of knowing inwardly that the promises are true. And our lives lived in the glow of those help us live more in the promises, making the world better.
I think our logical thinking does not get us to the world we long for, but rather tends to turn us in wrong directions and selfish pursuits. I think, rather, that we are spiritually formed in the darkness. Like a seed. Spiritual growth comes in letting go and loving God inwardly and outwardly. The waiting we do provides the time and conditions for this growth in grace and truth, allowing us to peer into the darkness and see the Light that is always there. In the darkness we learn our true proportion; we cannot push God around.
What helps you live in disappointment and unknowing?
What promises are meaningful to you?
Teach me your ways, O Holy One, and keep me on your path.
For further reference:
“The lion shall eat straw like the ox. . . .They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.” (See Isaiah 11: 6-9.)
“The kingdom is not coming with things that can be observed. . . For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.” (See Luke 17: 20-21.)