When we started 2020, we certainly could not have imagined what would await us.
Just this year we have seen a massive fire in Australia, a presidential impeachment, a global pandemic, an economic crisis, protests and rioting. It is no wonder that many are anxious and afraid when you see the state of the world. Yet, the world has always been in some state of turmoil or crisis.
Romans 8:23-24 says, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.”
Looking at the world, we can see the dire need for justice, peace and unity. If we have ever felt a sense that things are not right and they need to be better, it is because they should be. Thanks be to God that he is in control and He is always with us. In Jesus we can find the real hope that we have been looking for. The unity and love that is found in Christ is found in his body, the church, as a source of salt and light to a needy world. Though this may be true we feel a tension because things are not yet as they should be. Theologians call this “the already and not yet.”
For example, in the same passage I cited above Paul speaks about the Spirit interceding in our lives. We also participate regularly in a meal to remember the Lord’s suffering but are also reminded that he is coming back. As we feel this tension between the already and not yet, I am reminded that Christ prayed for us knowing fully well that in this world we would have trouble (John 16:33). Jesus first prayed for himself, then his disciples and then for future believers.
John 17:20-23 says, 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
The church, the body of Christ, united in Christ needs to continue to be a shining example of unity that proclaims the remedy to a needy world. It has been this way through so many generations whether those times were good or bad. Now, in this season of turmoil, as we feel a tension that makes us cry for our Lord’s return, may we also be reminded that he wanted us to be in this world.