Holding it all in Tension–the Upside Down Kingdom

 

This is our final week in the series on the creeping prosperity gospel. This week, we’re exploring how to hold what God doesn’t promise and what he does in tension.  We’ll have some great guest posts, and I hope you’ll join us to work this out in the comments.

We’ve explored it–God does not promise prosperity, physical health, the proverbial bed of roses. Instead, he promises abiding presence, inward renewal and loving-kindness. He promises to fortify the persecuted and weary. But how do we hold those things in tension? After all, in the dark days sometimes God doesn’t feel so abiding, so renewing. Sometimes affliction just feels like affliction.

Yesterday, I sat with my parents for a belated birthday brunch at a local restaurant and the conversation of this tension arose. We spoke about Titus and I told them that I hadn’t prayed for his healing since our first week at Children’s Hospital. It was a stark confession, now that I think about it, but it’s true. “There are other’s interceding for me,” I say, “and beside, if I’m supposed to pray ‘Thy will be done,’ I’d rather not assume that God’s will necessitates one outcome.”

My mother looks at me and repeats an old adage. “Sometimes, the believer in Christ gets to their rock bottom but you know what they find? The bottom holds,” she says.  I think she’s right. But even more–and this is the hope–when the Christ follower gets to their rock bottom, they find Christ, the comforter of those who mourn. This is the treasure, the  pinnacle of the upside down kingdom.

I think about my friends John and Jay Ray, Scott and Joy Bennett, Jordan and Kari Clark saints who have all lost children. They continue to say it–God is good. Blessed are those who mourn? Yes, for they are finding comfort. But even more blessed are they because they are being taken deeper into Christ, they are experiencing the goodness of God in the land of the living and in the valley of the shadow.  And blessed are we when we watch them walk in the tension of sorry and abiding presence. Blessed are we when we see them being conformed more into the image of the living Christ.

Their live in this tension daily, and their belief fortifies ours.

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