Waiting for the Kingdom

Who knows what will happen in this Republican primary or with this presidential election? I’m not sure who I would vote for in 2016. Not to question the character of the current candidates (because I’m not better than them; no one is), but doesn’t it seem like our country is starving for something?

We all want a president with strong moral character, who is humble and wise – to lead our country through these troubling times. But the truth is, no president – no person – is capable of delivering on this.

Maybe it’s good, in a way, that we’re so scared. So vulnerable and in debt. Because without a crisis of character, we’d never realize where the comfort for our fears is found.

I am not a political person. I’m not glued to CNN for CBS or FOX. So I can’t speak with authority on the current events and say what we should do to stop ISIS and abortion and find a solution to immigration and improve our health care system.

I believe that the answer to our country is a spiritual one; not political.

I say this because the life – the freedom – in me has come not through a political choice, but through a spiritual journey. Politics help shape infrastructure; the only thing deep enough to shape the human soul is God’s love.

All I know is the spiritual love that has healed me. A peace that has changed who I am. I am sinful. So much of my life has been bound up in false wants. The most accurate word to describe my spiritual journey is the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.

But this waywardness has created a desire in me. For truth and understanding. Something higher than myself. Something no Republican or Democratic could give.

America is a great nation. I am lucky to live here. I am thankful for the freedoms I have – to work and raise a family and own a house and go to the park and conduct business. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

But we, like any nation, fall short of the ideal land we all long for. We have violence. Abuse. Addictions. The disparity between the wealthiest and the poorest is too broad. Our nuclear family seems to be disintegrating. Doesn’t it seem like we’re on the edge of something?

As a Christian, I know my home is in heaven, and I take comfort in this. I look forward to that time when He calls me home – to paradise. But as a Christian, I am called to be salt and light where He has planted me. To do good, foster positive change, help others, bless – until He returns.

I know I cannot give to others what I do not have myself. An empty glass cannot water a garden. My desire then, is to seek Him. And be filled. And if I am filled, then I can help, in some small measure, to ease the burden of another. Isn’t that how a nation, at its core, is made strong? Not in grand measures, but in intimate relationships founded on love?

So then, what about America? This land that I love?

We are a nation who knows how to speak Christianese. We know the story of Jesus. He’s studied in universities. Hollywood makes movies about Him. We know His words. The internet is filled with stories about being born again (like this one) and finding Calvary and the Scriptures. Whether we know Him or not, we know.

The answer to restoring this nation is not spoken in Christianese –  a superficial understanding of Him, or half-hearted responses to His call. I’m guilty of both. Hopefully, my first motive is not to restore a nation at all, but to be humbled, desirous to discover His unfathomable love.

I must have come to this point in my life not through wealth given to me, but through a dearth of joy, of pain. Spiritual drought. My soul calls for something deeper. A healing.

And to find healing, I cannot waste another day. So much of my life has been spent in a La-Z-Boy that it’s been stitched to my rear end. I carry it to work and to church and this is a burden I haven’t found a solution for.

What I mean is, only the proactive God who created me can change me. Can unstitch me from my turpitude. I mean He gets me hungry for Him. His love. His grace. His kindness. His deep, wide, impossible love. In one breath – one breath – He revives me.

It’s His words. His cross. That undefinable moment in time where we all were held. By Him.

Do I think the Kingdom is coming? Yes, I do. I believe Jesus is the Son of God. I believe He is King. I believe He knows what I’m doing. I believe He’s panting with desire to heal this country, one spiritual wreck after another.

I mean any mess you consider – bad debt – abuse – murder – hatred – jealousy – fear – doubt – disobedience – abandonment – fathers abandoning their kids – fathers abandoning their spouses – fathers abandoning themselves – fathers abandoning their duties – fathers abandoning their responsibilities – fathers abandoning their families – fathers abandoning their parents – is a washstroke of forgiveness, and gone. It is all gone. All that waywardness. Gone. Subsumed, man. Just gone.

He doesn’t want my permanent obliteration; he wants my momentary death, to this world, to bring me to eternal life with Him. I was born to be in heaven with Him. There is a whole eternity waiting. For each of us with Him. This is life. I can’t wait.

At the very heart of this country is a hope God is eager to heal. And He’ll do it. One lanced heart at a time – not to make America the greatest country or the strongest or the safest – but to make each of us ready for when He comes back.

I believe He is doing this wonderful work of preparing us all for that time.

I believe no one knows the day or the hour. It doesn’t bother me that I don’t know; what matters is that I know Him now, that I begin the journey now, in love, walking in love with Him, falling in love with my God in a way that is spiritually potent, that gives me significance and worth, and helps me heal from all the muck that I caused and was done to me.

The only balm for a fearful person is the live love of Him. I forget so easily to live free, unbounded by fear. Yet that is what His promise is – to free me. Not that I am unfearful; I struggle with it every day. But where once before fear ruled my soul, now I have a peace that conquers it. Thankfully, in Him I am changing.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

Samuel Cronin

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