“If we really believe that the kingdom of God is eternal, then that means we don’t have to wait to experience God’s kingdom. It is here for the asking, right now. Nor do we need permission from anyone to drink from the well or wait until we die before the kingdom of God can come into being” (The World as It Should Be, p. 134).
Faith can be tricky. If I trust God, then I shouldn’t try to push through life, taking charge of everything myself. The danger is that I’ll simply force my own agenda and not even notice God’s. If I trust God, then I shouldn’t remain passive, waiting for everything to turn out all right in the end. The danger is that I’ll never learn what it means to participate in divine life and take my own part in the kingdom of God.
For many Christians, the greater temptation is to sit back and wait. Rather than do the risky work of prayer and discernment, we do nothing and hope that God will swoop in and fix everything. Rather than receive the astounding grace that is God’s life in the world, we sigh in resignation and wait for heaven-when-we-die.
But if we are to take Jesus seriously at all, we must acknowledge that the kingdom is happening right now, that God is quite busy in this world. And—this is the clincher—God invites us to get busy, too. There is no reason to wait.
Yes, sometimes it is necessary to be still and listen, to allow God’s wisdom to come forth so that we understand what to do or say. But listening is active; it’s not the same as checking out and waiting for something to happen.
Are we brave enough to check in? Do we find a perverse comfort in waiting at the edges for the hard work to be over? Would we prefer to hibernate spiritually and wake up just in time to die?
As honestly as you can, finish these sentences:
• The reason I am tempted to wait passively for God’s kingdom is . . .
• If I dare consider that the kingdom of God is here already, I may have to . . .