(I thought it might be useful to put this blog out after my previous blog posted earlier today. If you haven’t read the earlier one, “Persons not Projects” if might help you to read that first and then come back and read this if you have time. I have been really moved by those who have posted me publicly or privately about your own or a loved one’s battle with some form of mental illness. I hope what follows below is helpful in carrying that difficult and distressing experience, as well as relevant to other dilemmas some of us may be living in as we follow Jesus . I felt I should not keep this back until tomorrow. Some folk need to hear this today! K)
You have maybe heard of the book “The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe,” by Stephen Hawking. That title is quite a claim! Well, not to be outdone, today I offer you in the Name of Christ, “The Truth about Everything” you will ever experience in life as a follower of Jesus Christ. It is not a new truth nor a new truth to my blogs: it is this; “The Kingdom of God/The Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The greatest central theme of the teaching of Jesus, His Gospel, proclaimed that in Him, God’s promised and prophesied reign and Kingdom had drawn near to people on earth. He spoke of a Kingdom that had come, that was coming and that would one day fully come. To sum it up, He spoke of “the already here not yet Kingdom of God.”
When you get hold of that you find the interpretive key by which to understand everything that happens in your life as a believer. When there is a breakthrough of the obvious power of God,well, why is that? It is because the Kingdom of Heaven is near. When a breakthrough does not come as we had hoped, why is that? The Kingdom of Heaven is not here in its fullness and we are still waiting for the day when all sickness, suffering, death itself will be past and God will wipe away every tear. We are still waiting for the day Scripture promises when these things shall be no more. When miraculous things happen they are described in the bible as “signs.” Signs point to something, assuring us we are on the right road journeying towards an as yet not fully reached destination; the already here but not yet kingdom. However, so do “non sign” signs! When there is no rescue or healing, Christians know that too points forward to the same certain day which is still to come.
From time to time movements arise in the church which challenge the Scriptural balance by saying that we can have all of that future day now. The result is usually a small increase in the incidence of the miraculous and a huge increase in disillusionment and distress which is sadly generally conveniently ignored. When the truth believers proclaim becomes out of sync with reality, we are on dangerous ground. I have lived long enough to see several movements which have gone beyond what Scripture says, and probably they cause as much loss of faith as they encourage faith. This blog feels like it is maybe too late to help. The “Have it all Now” Kingdom horse is bolting once again and has picked up quite a speed; It almost seems unchallengeable… however, one day you might remember this blog and it may help you to help someone who has been trampled on by that horse, and left with untended wounds.
Both healing and non healing are signs of what believers in heaven know right at this moment: The Kingdom of Heaven has not yet fully come even in heaven, let alone on earth. There are a huge throng of people in heaven still waiting for “The Day of the Lord” when injustices will be reversed. As I said before in another blog, those in heaven (with the possible exception of two or three; Jesus (for sure) and one or two others whose taking leave of this earth is a bit of an Old Testament mystery) are waiting for their sick, dead , diseased and decaying bodies which are lying in weakness and dishonour in land or sea or blown to the wind through war or atomic or terrorist bombs, to be healed and raised; the seed of what shall be raised incorruptible. The saints in heaven understandably have better theology than saints on earth have yet worked out. The saints in heaven know what some saints on earth sometimes find it difficult to accept: we are a waiting people who whatever “sign signs “or “non-sign signs’ we are rejoicing in or confused by, long for this announcement: “Now is the dwelling of God with men.” In speaking too much of faith for heaven now, we are perhaps in danger of reducing the priceless worth of Christian hope:
“Wrong will be right when Aslan comes in sight
At the sound of his roar, sorrow shall be no more
When he bears his teeth, winter meets its death
And when he shakes his mane, we will have spring again!”
(The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by C.S. Lewis.)