So close, but so far away…

— Midweek Meditations:
thoughts, inspiration and encouragement
from ACF community members —

Sometimes it is possible for something to be both close and far away. Thanks to today’s technology we can see what’s happening all around the world in real time. I can see with my family daily via FaceTime (video chat). This can be bittersweet. Things and people that are near and dear to us can feel so close. The screens between us remind us that we can only get so close to our loved ones who are so far away. This reality was especially real to me this past week as my dear grandma who I talk to weekly went in and out of intensive care. The hours of waiting to find out a prognosis felt like an eternity.

One thought has been playing in my head like a broken record- “The kingdom of heaven is both here and not yet here.” Jesus said early on and often in His ministry here on Earth, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matt. 4:17) This kingdom is described in Revelation as one without suffering, pain, or tears. All nations live in peace and God dwells with us. It sounds incredible!

In my theology courses we often talked about how this kingdom has simultaneously already arrived, but is also not entirely here – a statement that is both confusing and frustrating at the same time. If Jesus said about 2000 years ago that the kingdom was near, then how could it be that it takes so long to arrive? At the same time, I must say that I am relieved to know that the world we are living in now is not where we will spend eternity. There is a lot of suffering, pain, tears, and unrest.

These last few weeks I have felt bogged down with the worries of the world, both on a personal and global level. Despite prayer and human efforts, it seems like peace is so far out of reach and people continue to suffer from a variety of pain.

In prayer I sensed God reminding me to seek His kingdom. In Mat. 6:33, Jesus tells us to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.” How do you seek His kingdom? It could start with simply asking God to show us glimpses of where He is at work in our lives, where His kingdom is already here on earth. It is a bit like looking at those dotted pictures used to check for colorblindness. If you focus on the dots long enough (and aren’t colorblind) a number appears amidst the muddle of spots.

In the muddle of pain and unrest around me, I have been blind to God’s presence.The slivers of Heaven on earth that are so life-giving and encouraging became blurred by troubles of the world. As a result I felt discouraged and worn out and I want that to change. Maybe you can relate?

I have started praying “God, show me your Kingdom on Earth. Where are you visible?” I can’t say that the worries and weariness have disappeared entirely, but it has been refreshing to experience moments of joy, hope and His love. A hug from a friend, worship music describing His unconditional love, seeing two dear ones take their first steps as a married couple, the breathtaking view of the Black Forest- all snapshots of God’s Kingdom.

I invite you to join me in seeking first His kingdom, focusing in on His fingerprints in this weary and worrisome world. Let’s expect to be wowed and comforted!

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