Frustration can be difficult to quantify, but it certainly feels like these are the most frustrating times of my life. So many people are angry, cynical, and biting. Nowhere is it more evident than within the faith. We are divided along the same lines as the larger culture; race, politics, gun control, whether black or blue lives matter, reopening the country. We are not only divided about it, we’re fighting about it.
It seems we can’t agree on much. Each tribe unreasonably recites the same unoriginal tribal rhetoric, as if we are so convinced we are right that we need simply to say it again, only louder. We cannot possibly be wrong. We refuse to consider the possibility and social media gives us many platforms to display our disunity.
I can’t remember feeling this discouraged and helpless; just one more voice adding to the chaos. I’d begun to doubt if my thoughts about right are indeed right. My thoughts are not exclusive to any one tribe, but they would be recognizable in many. We are so splintered you would think we had no king.
Judges 21:25 (NAS): 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
The despair was really getting to me when I remembered that we do have a King; remembered in whose eyes right is found. So I retreated to the safety of scripture. And here’s what the King reminded me. I hope it helps.
Citizenship Determines Loyalty
In Jesus, we are already citizens of the Kingdom, with full citizenship rights. We are in the world, but not of the world, and thus not of this nation. That sounds as odd to my ears as it may to yours. Our loyalties belong to another.
I will vote and do everything to be a responsible American, but only because my King has asked me, and knowing that this is not my home. There may be somethings in my community that I feel strongly about, but I must be careful about becoming evangelistic about them. I may not vote the same as a fellow citizen of the Kingdom, but my love for them is greater than my love for the land. The love of Christ compels me.
In the kingdom of God lives matter, so we grieve and demand justice unequivocally when a black life is needlessly taken. It’s not the time to minimize that life by pointing out the value of a blue life; not in the kingdom. And as citizens of the kingdom, we don’t murder blue lives with our righteous indignation either. We don’t let our grief turn to hatred and hateful words, as if we grieve as the rest who have no hope. Our grief and our response must be the same. We must find the common ground of life. Life created in the image of God, because to Him are we ultimately loyal.
This Started In A Manger
The will of God to begin the life of the King in a manger is so profound and other worldly that we must be reminded often. We forget easily and begin to look, in great frustrations, to the White House and the Halls of Congress for our Shalom. The delusion of the land is that our peace and prosperity comes from the lofty, but God has ordained that it comes from the lowly.
The kingdom of God is not from sea to shining sea, or from purple mountain’s majesty. The Kingdom is from the smallest of seed. It’s from a manger, and herald by shepherds; it’s from a mustard seed. It does not trickle down. It grows from strong roots anchored in the rich soil of God’s sovereign purposes. It can only lead to frustration, division, and exhaustion if we are looking for security in any place other than the Kingdom.
He Always Keeps A Remnant
I was reminded of Elijah’s complaints to the Lord. His loneliness, his exhaustion, and his frustration with the shear number of the people of God, whose behavior defy reason, is sadly familiar. In the story, the Lord fed him, chided him gently, then told him of the 7000 He had kept for Himself. A remnant who had not bowed their knees to the god of the greater culture. A remnant who remained loyal to the Lord. Loyal because He had kept them. How wonderful is that? If I am loyal, it’s because He has kept me.
The voices who speak for the faith from the biggest platforms, who say the things everyone expects, but few respects, don’t often speak for the kingdom. They represent their tribe and not the King. Many have bowed the knee to the gods of the greater culture, trying fruitlessly to worship God and Money; God and Country.
In His Eyes
At the end of the age, Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead. The thought brings me great consolation. That’s precisely what we need right now. We need a judge. Someone who can settle our disputes. Someone to tell us who’s right; a voice of authority. Someone who silences all other voices when He delivers righteousness judgment. He has not chosen to judge the world yet, but He has not been silent. He speaks in His word, and He reminds us that we need not do what’s right in our own eyes, we have a King.