On our way to worship last Sunday morning, we turned on to a familiar road. Exiting the major commercial artery, we were abruptly reminded that changes were ahead. In fact, they were already evident. The surface of the side street had been peeled off, leaving relatively small grooves, bumps, and ruts. Following the jar of the experience, I observed large orange signs indicating “rough road.” Additional warning signs alerted us to the fact that “elevated manholes” were to be expected. Next, came the larger bumps and hollows, precursors to some major potholes! Even though the journey to the church building was about a mile, the unpleasant jostling, with its bumps and jolts, seemed endless. But it was worthwhile – something I had to endure for the benefit of participating in worship and fellowshipping with God’s people.
The strange thing was that the jostling didn’t really irritate me. Why? Because I recognized that I would soon be with other believers at our church. Plus, the inconveniences were merely indicators that the road was going to be resurfaced. I knew that in a short while (hopefully!) things would be much better soon. The road would be smooth and well-marked – a pleasure to ride on. Better times are coming.
It took me a little while, but after reflecting on this, it occurred to me that this was an excellent illustration of life – not only my life but also the lives of all those who love the Lord. Let me explain.
In my previous blog, while focusing on the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer, which is “your kingdom come…” I mentioned “the already and the not yet.” That is, because of Christ’s work (think: life, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and return) for his people, we experience present and future benefits. Presently, we have all the benefits of being reconciled to God as his children. More than that – we have been promised a glorious future. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us.
Although the future may seem a little cloudy because we don’t have all the details which we would like, we are assured by Scripture that our future will be better than we can comprehend. The kingdom of God will be expanded, in the sense that the entire world will be restored and recognize our Lord as King! Sin and death and the devil will not even be in their memory banks. Is it any wonder that Jesus taught us to pray, “… Your kingdom come…”? We long for better things, like the resurfaced road…
Yet, we still live in the here and now – the bumps and jostling of this broken world, are difficult to endure. Often the crashes and knocks produce ungodly reactions. Sin and its effects produce more sin. My reactions often may not honor the Lord. This, however, is not what he wants of his children. He wants us to love, honor and obey him and show love to others. To this end, Jesus taught us to pray, “… Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
That last phrase is convicting. Can you imagine one of God’s angels, who have not had the great benefits or future as we do, saying to the Lord, “Wait a minute. I’m busy now. I want to finish this movie… Or I don’t really feel led.”?
Remember what Jesus said? “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
When I pray for God’s will to be done, I pray that I would know and do God’s will. So, I pray that God would soften my heart and open my eyes to his truth as revealed in his word. I should ask him to help me to be cheerful, faithful and diligent in submitting to his will, in the same way that his angels in heaven do.
Here is expert advice which always helps me to keep things in focus. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)
Christian, let the bumps and knocks in your life remind you that better times are ahead. The present hardships and inconveniences are merely indicators that the road is going to be resurfaced.