Monday, March 31, 2008

The Now Thing

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." (Isaiah 43:19)

The pace of our lives seems to be increasing faster and faster. We are in such a rush from here to there that we really aren't even here at all. Our conversations are marked with vacant stares as our minds race ahead to what's next. The next blockbuster movie, the next American Idol, the next American President, the next world crisis, the next scientific breakthrough, the next natural catastrophe, the next scandalous preacher -- and so on and so on and so on.

"What's the next big thing that God will do?" a friend recently asked me. The question reveals our predisposition to a faith that is defined by events, rather than by relationship. We are not completely at fault in this, because God certainly does eventful things in our lives, as in all the world. So the conditioning toward this is understandable. However, we must guard against looking for the next thing so much that we miss out on the now thing.

"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ," Paul wrote, "as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." (2Co 5:20). Did you catch that? NOW then we are ambassadors for Christ. That's a NOW thing. It's not something you are going to be -- it is what you are right now.

Whatever else God may do, and whenever, or wherever else He may decide to do it -- THIS is one thing that He is doing NOW. And exactly what is it? Using men and women just like us, unseen and often unappreciated, to become expressions of His light and love in a world overcrowded with darkness and dejection.

Imagine an underground river that flows incessantly in its course, unseen and unappreciated, but nevertheless supplying life and power to all within its sphere of influence. Such is the Kingdom of God in today's desert world. Now imagine that on occasion, unpredictable and unexpected, the pressure of the water -- silent in its underground channels -- suddenly bursts forth above ground in a spectacular geyser that douses everybody in a downpour. The Kingdom of God is also like that.

But while the geysers come and go, the river continues steady and unceasing in its underground flow. We would be foolish to camp by the geyser hole, waiting for another eruption, and miss out on the constancy of the river -- which is forever the Now Thing that God is doing.

Yes, we rightly rejoice in what God has done, and we certainly fix our hope upon what God will do. But Jesus said, "I only do what I see the Father doing." That's the key to living in the Kingdom right NOW.


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