Today I want to help us take the next step toward suffering gracefully by taking a look at a passage of Scripture that describes the ‘Now’ and the ‘Not Yet’ of the Kingdom of God.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us; The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting doesn’t diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Romans 8:22-25 The Message
When Jesus came, He ushered in the Kingdom of God on earth – He himself being the King of that Kingdom. Heaven came down to earth in the body of the man Jesus Christ and invaded the fallen kingdoms of earth.
It is not God, but the devil who is ultimately behind all the sin and suffering in the world. He tempted Adam and Eve, causing them to sin along with him. Ever since he has caused all the earth to spiral in cycles of suffering, sin, and death. He is at war with Jesus and all humanity. He has already been dealt a fatal blow when Jesus died and rose again, thus conquering death itself, providing a way of escape for those who would trust in Him. Our adversary the devil is a mortally wounded enemy, still plotting to do as much harm as he can until he meets his ultimate doom at the end of the age.
Until that day, judgement day, we live in the tension of the Kingdom of God being here now, yet not fully, as it will be in the age to come. There will be no tears, no temptation, no suffering, no sorrows, no death, no sickness, no wickedness of any kind in the age to come! But until then we must endure all those things.
We live in the Now and put our hope in the Not Yet.
That is not to say that we just resign ourselves to living life in this broken world without a fight! NO – no way! We live in a war zone so we FIGHT to overcome evil and receive substantial manifestations of the kingdom of God here and now!
Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7,8 &10
So our job description now is to pray as Jesus taught us, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”
Don’t just pray alone but with other believers who will agree in faith with you, as it says in Matthew 18:19, 20 NIV – “…truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Were it not for a wonderful group of praying friends who came around me to pray with me when I was suffering so much, I don’t know where I would be today! They did not give up and came to pray at my home every week for over a year! Some organized meals for my family for a year and came to help clean my home. All of this kept HOPE alive in my heart! And healing came as we persevered in prayer over the long haul.
Next week I will talk about “Paul’s thorn” – which deals with unanswered prayer and the purpose for it.
Today I encourage you to keep hope alive, pray without ceasing, don’t isolate but integrate with other believers and storm heaven, crying out “Let your kingdom come and your will be done, Lord, on earth as it is in heaven!”
Just like a woman in labor, we can travail together in hope and faith to see new life, the life Jesus died to give us, born into real space and time, the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. It is worth contending for! What’s more, we are ENLARGED IN THE WAITING!
I pray for you today, that in your sufferings you will be filled with great hope and persevering faith, to contend for more and more of His kingdom, and be enlarged in the waiting!
…because the darkness is disappearing and the true light is already blazing. 1 John 2:8 (b) TPT
With love and prayers,