The Kingdom Now: Pursuing What Is Available

I have a burning desire to see God’s Kingdom come and His will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Far more than a rote phrase in the Disciple’s Prayer, this pursuit has become my passion – the thing I am willing to suffer most for in order to see it accomplished. I have a singular desire to see the Kingdom of God collide with and overcome the kingdom of this world and see Holy Spirit set wrong things right, especially in the areas of sickness, disease and death.

I will never stand before God and have to apologize for the way I am living my life. I will never stand before the Judgement Seat and say “I’m sorry God, I thought you were more loving. I thought you wanted to heal more people. I thought the Cross accomplished more…” No! God is the most overwhelmingly loving, caring and generous person I know. He wants to see people saved, healed and delivered far more than I do.

I’ve seen some amazing things in my life. A girl saved from the brink of death, a rotator cuff miraculously healed and a friend healed of Lyme’s disease. I’ve also had some major disappointments – a friend who didn’t rise from the dead despite me praying for him for six hours, other friends with chronic pain who haven’t been healed despite months of prayer and, most recently, a beautiful woman who wasn’t healed of blindness.

It is that last disappointment that prompted this post.

My wife and I host a college ministry on Thursday nights and it is a beautiful time of loving one another, worshipping and sharing what Father is teaching us. Since the start of the year, a young woman, let’s call her M, has been attending with friends. M is slowly losing her sight, to the point that now school work is almost impossible for her and she is going to have to receive some training for how to operate certain technologies usually reserved for the blind.

I was sharing last night about some of the things Father has been teaching me, especially my passion for healing and what I believe Jesus accomplished on the cross. I noticed M silently crying on the couch so, after I was done and we had started singing, I went to be with her.

We ended up talking for a long time after the majority of the group had left. She told me about her life, how losing her sight had affected her and her parents and the various ways she was trying to cope. At one point I heard her say, “I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t need my eyes to see the beauty around me” and that stuck in my heart like a knife. This woman has growing debt because her insurance won’t cover her treatments, she is in serious chronic pain, she feels increasingly lonely and isolated, she probably wont be able to finish school and now is trying to convince herself that she doesn’t really need her eyes.

My heart broke for her. I knew that the compassion I had for her suffering was only a small fraction of what Father felt for her, but she still wasn’t healed when I laid my hands on her and prayed.

I once heard Randy Clark give a message called “The Agony of Defeat” and it is the price he pays for the healing ministry. People come from around the world to get prayer from “the man of God” and sometimes nothing happens. I understand that agony a little differently now than I did when I first heard that message.

It is painful, embarrassing and humiliating to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom and not see fruit. It is a sincerely painful experience to believe with all your heart that God can heal, WANTS to heal, and still nothing happens. I feel like a fake, a huckster, some charlatan peddling snake oil as the cure for what ails you. Many times it makes me want to give up. It seems like the reasonable thing would be to give up preaching and believing in the supernatural to simply focus on what is humanly possible. But a friend gave me a beautiful definition of reason recently. He said that reason is “the leveraging of facts to prove an inferior reality.”

Facts devoid of God’s power, desire and intent are an inferior reality. The Superior Reality is the way we see God acting in the ministry of Jesus, what we call the Kingdom of God. I can never bring the Bible down to my level of experience when I preach and teach – it must always remain the standard that my life conforms to. God isn’t on trial, I am – we are. What will we do with what has been entrusted to us? What will we fight for? How fiercely will we pursue what is available to us?

Those questions keep me awake at night. They keep a fire burning hot within me to see what is possible. I really do believe that God exists, that He is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him and that He is a God who heals. I’m willing to stake everything on those beliefs.

I willing to pursue this on my own, but I’d much rather do so with a group of people who share this same passion. So, if any of you are reading this, please drop me a line, either an email or a comment. Perhaps we can figure out how to meet and pray and encourage one another in this pursuit.

As always, thank you for reading.

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My Take on “Digging Wells: A Parable”

I love parables. Especially ones that stick with you and/or require independent thought. As much as I love stories, they can sometimes lead to shallow thinking – as in, I tell you a story in such a way that you see what I want you to see, how I want you to see it so that, in the end, you agree with me. Stories certainly have their place, but it is no accident that Jesus taught in parables and rarely explained them. Some of His parables still leave people wondering what He was talking about.

I love that parables make you think and reflect. Unreflective Christianity has a tendency to go lock-step with the culture and that scares me. So the counter-cultural and subversive parables of Jesus are a true Godsend. My parable isn’t quite that good, but I hope it caused you to think. In case you missed the parable, scroll down, read it and leave a comment before you continue… Thanks!

My thoughts
To me, this is a parable about perseverance and going deep in the most important things, which are, by necessity, quite few.

It is a parable about human nature and our tendency to wander even though we’re told exactly what to do.

The people of the village were dying of thirst, but in order to find the thing that would give them life, they had to go low – much lower than they had anticipated, much lower than they were willing to go. They had to dig and dig, deeper and deeper in the same place. Instead, they got distracted. They dug down a little and didn’t find what they wanted, so they tried somewhere else. They put in all the work they needed to in order to find life, but it was a dispersed effort which resulted in failure – if only they had kept digging down and down in the same hole!

The holes, for me, are different aspects of Christianity. They can represent the love of God, prayer, service, miracles, worship. Digging deep in any of those wells will result in an encounter with Jesus, the Water of Life, which is the whole point. But a dispersed, half-hearted and distracted effort in five or six holes will kill you, unless you can drink from someone else’s well.

Remember John 4 and the Samaritan woman at the well? Jacob the Patriarch had dug a well people were still drinking from hundreds of years later, yet it was unable to satisfy. But when Jesus came, he offered an endless supply of living water to whoever would dig a well through relationship with him.

I think there are very few topics that are “well worthy,” things you can give your life to for years and never regret. I think growing in understanding of God’s love for you and your love for God is pretty much it. The way you grow in that understanding might look a lot of different ways – service to the poor, prayer, worship or bible study, maybe even a combination of all of those – but the goal remains connection with the heart of God.

There are definitely more things to dig out of this particular parable, but those are the insights I thought I would share.

Thanks for reading friends!