Have you ever watched a monarch butterfly struggle to free itself from the confines of its chrysalis? Or have you ever viewed a chick peck and fight its way out of a shell?
What was once a comfy shelter has now become an intolerable prison! And their travail to break out ultimately results in being born to a new existence. Their struggle to be free actually prepares them for a better world to come.
Compare this to Paul’s passage in Romans 7:21–27 and 8:18–23. There Paul describes the growing tension in our hearts, longing to be free from this sinful carcass that drags us down and from the sinful world around us. We yearn for the redemption of our bodies—the resurrection—for a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Pet. 3:13).
Creation itself yearns for our “revelation as the children of God,” knowing that its resurrection is not far behind.
Could it be that this dying body and this sinful world are serving as sort of an incubator—one that eventually becomes an intolerable prison? Could this confinement and the growing tension we feel be God’s way of preparing us for His eternal kingdom?
Let me ask you this? Do you yearn for a place where righteousness, truth, and justice reign? Where the news is not a political tool to discourage godly and law-abiding people? Where truth and facts are not pulled from the thin air to win an argument? Where religious freedom is not continually under attack? Where every decent human being who takes a stand for righteousness is not attacked and slandered? Then God is preparing you for a better world to come.
Do you long for a land where love abounds? Where kindness, courtesy, and humility are considered strengths rather than weaknesses? Where insulting others is considered just plain rude, rather than a constitutional right? Where people of faith are not used as a convenient scapegoat for everything that’s wrong with society? Where the disenfranchised and discontented of society are actually helped out of their problems, rather than merely agitated and stampeded against political opponents? Then God is preparing you for a better land.
Do you long for the day when you’re most cherished beliefs are not constantly under fire? When you can seek information without risk of being offended or feeling like you’re being indoctrinated? Do you yearn for a day of vindication and freedom from oppression? Then God is fitting you for heaven.
There is such a place, but we may never find it in America or in any other nation of earth. Such a day will come, but it may not occur until Jesus Christ returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords—and we are transformed into His likeness (Phil. 3:20–21; 1 John 3:1–3).
In the meantime Jesus told us to pray, “May Your kingdom come and may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Circumstances may grow progressively worse until we pray that prayer with every breath.
God is preparing us for His eternal kingdom in which righteousness reigns.
For until we reach that place and that glorious day arrives, God is preparing us for His eternal kingdom in which righteousness reigns. The growing tension in our hearts is only because God is making us more like Christ as the world around us becomes more like Satan.
For reasons we do not completely understand, God allows the wheat and the tares to grow together until the harvest. At that time “the Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:24–30, 36–43).
This is not a time to hunker down and idly wait for God to intervene. Jesus told us to “do the Lord’s business” until He returns, that we may not appear before Him empty-handed (Luke 19:13). So, although we may not win the political battles, we should still seek to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:14–16). We should seek the peace and welfare of the nation in which God has planted us—and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its blessing and peace, we will be blessed (Jer. 29:7; 1 Tim. 2:1–4).
By doing so we will both work to transform our nation for good, yet remember that our true citizenship is in heaven. We pray for our nation, yet realize it will never be a substitute for God’s eternal kingdom. We pray for God to raise up Christian leaders to establish Christian-friendly laws. But our ultimate hope is in the Prince of Peace and our true home is in heaven.
Dear Father in heaven, help me to accept the struggles and conflict of this life as what they truly are—Your incubator to prepare me for Your eternal kingdom. Though I get disappointed and weary, remind me that Jesus Christ has already won the victory over sin, the world, the devil, and death itself. And I shall reign with Him forever. Amen.