Wednesday, March 11, 2015
The big picture
This view of earth from space – yes, we Brits are in it – doesn’t come close to representing God’s perspective and insight and wisdom. But it’s a helpful reminder to us of who sees the big picture, perfectly.
Matthew 6:10 NIV
“…Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
WHY is our world in such a mess? Wars, dictators, famine, the Ebola crisis, terrorism – not to mention young people lured by ISIS? There are many objections voiced against Christianity, not all addressing what true Christianity stands for, but that goes with the territory.
The common objections are about the extent of pain and suffering in the world, and why bad things happen to seemingly good people.
This phrase of the Lord’s Prayer drives the heavenly perspective of our world. It is the big picture. The view from space doesn’t even come close as a representation, because God’s perspective is both zoomed-out, and also personally close up, with detailed interest.
“Your kingdom come” is all about God’s rule. Whether you see it as a request, or a faith declaration, us saying “on earth as it is in heaven” is calling that righteous rule down from heaven, and into our world – big picture or close-up issue. What happens when we do that? Change happens. It may be increment by increment, it may be gradual, it may need us to keep on fighting for it – but “Your kingdom come” is a prayer taught by Jesus that is bound to be answered.
As Christians deal with their pride and divisions, and learn to come together in friendship and agreement, “Your kingdom come” is a three-word phrase that moves mountains of injustice, overcomes institutionalised unbelief and releases God’s purposes in God’s way and God’s timing. That’s important – ‘little’ prayers that we think up can easily miss God’s higher purpose because they lack His insight and perspective. This phrase calls down both, and allows Him to define it.
So the answer to the question “Why do bad things happen…?” is that we live in a corrupted, fallen, selfish world with an active enemy who, the Bible tells us, “prowls around like a lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). And we, who have an understanding of the stand off, and also the victory we have in Christ, are often too preoccupied to pray, too concerned with what we think and want, to get to that place of unity and agreement with others. Especially if they are not like us.
The command we have is to “be clear-minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7) and to “resist [the enemy], standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9) as those who are aware of the dysfunction and suffering that is going on around us, and determined to make a difference. Of course, we may be required to be part of the practical answer to our own prayer!
What’s our call from God? Whoever we are, we’re called to be aware, and to own the problems. It’s not God’s fault, it’s ours. Is He passive and uncaring? No, but often by our actions we appear to be.
Our job is to come together and work together to pray, and move dark mountains. “…Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
CHECK IT OUT
- Acquiescence is a big fat word that describes a big fat sin – going along with what is wrong, turning a blind eye to it. In what ways have you been acquiescent, rather than prayerfully active?
- If Christians buried their differences and came together in heart and mind to pray “Your kingdom come”, what changes would occur as that prayer began to be answered?