What are you most looking forward to in the Kingdom?
At my house, a question often arises while sitting in the hot tub late at night. “What are you most looking forward to in the Kingdom?” It’s always interesting to me what kinds of answers you get. It’s also interesting how quickly people answer. For some, it’s on the tip of their tongue as it guides their daily life. For others, it takes a while to quantify the one thing they most look forward to. I’ve asked some friends to share their thoughts.
For me, it’s simple…
Specifically, a just government. I often get so frustrated with what goes on that I have stopped watching the news altogether. Seeing what politicians argue over and how little they get done causes me to get depressed. We live in a world filled with so much need, and it is so often ignored. Hunger, homelessness, drug abuse, mental health concerns, children without families, and human trafficking, all of these things need serious attention from people who are concerned about helping. Instead, they often get people wrangling over words, budgets, and sound bites for the news.
I want to see Jesus sitting on a worldwide throne.
I want a just government. I want a benevolent King who knows what is wrong with people and what they need to help them. I don’t want to waste time and money debating and arguing over competing strategies and ideologies, and I want a loving ruler who acts and moves forward to help, not hurt.
I want to see Jesus sitting on a worldwide throne. For me, it’s that simple.
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA
Peace entails so much more than a cessation of hostilities or a quiet time to contemplate.
There are many in the world today whose prospects of imagining a peaceful mind is incomprehensible. We live in a society constantly bombarded with frightening images and sadness. There may be violence within our street or arguments with friends, our families, and even church. The noise this creates in our lives can soon turn into an internal monologue, which is anything but peaceful. Quiet, then, is no longer peaceful. It feels like an attack because our minds are on constant repeat.
All quite the opposite of peaceful. The alleviation from this particular suffering is my Kingdom hope.
Walking down the street, we have no idea what is happening in another’s life. There are hidden disabilities, mental illness, brain injury and disease, and physical but hidden problems that take up a lot of brain space. These thoughts and voices which invade people’s mind are on top of what we generally experience as a species.
It’s difficult for us who haven’t experienced serious mental health issues to understand exactly what goes on in the mind of someone who has. When Jesus healed those with “demons” in Scripture, they were insightful people whose spiritual radar was heightened and who experienced feelings and emotions more keenly. Those who feel everything more intensely find existing extremely painful.
We will fully have the mind of Christ.
Perhaps the Kingdom will mean that we all feel more keenly, but it will be happiness and peace that we feel. A calm internal process. Freedom from pressure, sadness, and anxiety.As Scripture says, “Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa 35:10).
We will no longer need the distraction techniques we use to cope with our level of distress, our reliance on radio, music, TV, keeping busy, being constantly on the move, and buying the next new thing. We will fully have the mind of Christ.
I imagine life will be slower. Our ability to feel and connect with others will strengthen our thoughts and we will be safe, warm, and peaceful.
This mind will reconnect us back to nature and into the arms and soul of our Heavenly Father.
Peace at last.
Nottingham Ecclesia, UK
A Heavenly Choir
I look forward to seeing the faces of these four men. We might call them “The masters of music” They are Asaph, Heman, Ethan, and Jeduthun.
Oh, what a joy it will be to acquaint oneself with the tunes of the psalms and spiritual songs and to learn the harmonies and how they might have arranged the music and any accompaniments. What a privilege it will be to listen to that earthly choir singing of heavenly things. And better still, if allowed, to sing with them, with a perfect voice, in perfect pitch, possibly in Hebrew! (Zeph 3:9), as a heavenly choir indeed, praising God throughout all eternity.
Yet above all else, I want to be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. I want to be made “like unto his glorious body” (Phil 3:21) and unhindered by the shackles of sin and all its consequences. I want to be a partaker of the wondrous divine nature.
What a joy that will be for us all. Lord hasten that day, we pray!
Acocks Green Ecclesia, UK
No More Cruelty
In the coming Kingdom of God, I am looking forward to the elimination of man’s inhumanity to man. To know that every broken heart and spirit will be healed, including my own. I can’t wait to see what it will mean for the earth to be filled with God’s glory and eventually what it will truly mean for God to be all in all.
To experience the touch of Christ’s hand on mine. I want to tell him how much I love and thank him. To finally understand what it is to be what God has wanted me to be all along. Righteousness and precious godliness will surround us all. To know that my only work will be serving God and serving Him in the ways He intended for me. To have such an understanding of Him that my talks with Him will be even more meaningful and intimate.
I look forward to walking and talking with the disciples of Christ that I have already met through the Scriptures. I love the words in our Hymn 255.
Now is the Victor’s triumph won;
O let the song of praise be sung:
Death’s mightiest powers have done their worst,
And Jesus hath his foes dispersed;
Let shouts of praise and joy outburst:
On the third morn he rose again glorious in majesty to reign;
O let us swell the joyful strain:
Lord by the stripes which wounded thee,
From death’s dread sting thy servants free;
That we may live and sing to thee:
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA
The End of Poverty
Each day I am reminded of the brokenness of our world when I see the homeless. I long for the day Christ returns to heal all that homelessness represents, which is wrong in society. Jesus told his disciples in Mark 14:7 (NKJV), “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good.”
But homelessness is not just a result of someone being poor. It is a growing and heart-wrenching epidemic experienced in so many places worldwide. For many years I worked at a food pantry, and it was there that I came to understand the complexity of how people find or choose to be homeless: mental illness, addiction, broken relationships, victims of abuse or trauma, loss of employment, lack of health insurance, etc.
Whatever the reason, those who experience homelessness are the most vulnerable in our society. They are those who have no “net” to catch them before they fall, no group or community with the means to truly help. Man’s solutions and resources are few and far between and difficult to navigate. Many caring neighbors take it upon themselves to do what they can when they encounter a homeless individual, to give a cup of water, buy a meal, or even pay for a night’s stay in a hotel. Still, none of these quick Band-Aid solutions will change this person’s trajectory in life like the return of a just King named Jesus.
Jesus, as King, will bring a rule that leads with righteousness, justice, and faith. Just as the poor and lowly shepherds were the first to witness Jesus’ birth, I like to think that just maybe the homeless of this world will be some of the first to witness his return. They will not be distracted by work or materialism or the busyness of life. They will go from feeling invisible to being seen and invited to follow the Savior of the world. Jesus said in Luke 4:18 (NKJV):
The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.
Return, Lord Jesus, may it be said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!”
Verdugo Hills Ecclesia, CA
Truth, Godliness, and Justice
What am I looking forward to most in the Kingdom of God? Wow! So many things! As are we all. Isaiah 11:1-5 (ASV) often filters through my mind.
In contrast to these verses, we see a world dominated by the ungodly. A system of justice heavily weighted in favor of the wicked, the rich, and those with connections in high places. The voices of the poor, the oppressed, and the disenfranchised are not heard. They are not valued. Their very real problems are ignored! How can it ever change?
It’s already started! Small, insignificant, a shoot from a stump, a branch from the roots, a Nazarene despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief who offered up prayers with strong crying and tears. Who learned obedience by what he suffered. He set his face. He stayed the course. He’s been here before and knows what it’s like to suffer at the hands of the godless and wicked. He will come again to fix it all.
Not shoe-horned or parachuted into office by corrupt associates. No. He is worthy to reign. The Father raised him because of his holy character, which will be fully displayed when he reigns from Jerusalem in his glory. He will be a righteous King-Priest. No bribes. No respecter of persons. But all the beautiful qualities of the spirit seen in his ministry are now revealed to the world with authority and power.
At last, in his reign, the meek shall inherit the earth, and the Lord’s promises from the beatitudes will be realized for us, his disciples, his connections who have waited down through time knowing that one day he would return. All this from a shoot from the stump of Jesse! How amazing!
What am I most looking forward to? Truth, Godliness, and Justice, with the authority of the King to make it work!
Sutherland Ecclesia, NSW
Acts of service have always been my love language. It is how I tend to show love to others and how I like love to be shown to me. I believe passionately in the importance of service to others, but that doesn’t mean I do a great job at it. So often with service, other things get in the way. I’m too tired or too busy. I want to relax, and no one will help me. It’s too difficult for me.
There are too many obstacles–the list of excuses goes on and on, leading to guilt and frustration. That is why, when I think about what I look forward to most in the future Kingdom of God on earth, the one thing that seems to come out on top is the idea that I will have limitless time, energy, and ability, to serve the LORD God and His creation without compromise.
What a blessing it will be to have all those excuses removed in God’s kingdom, to serve God and others without reservation, distraction or limits, and to lose the guilt that I am not doing enough! Thank You, LORD, for promising us an eternity to serve You limitlessly.
Baltimore Ecclesia, MD
Acorns and Anticipation
He was the Master of Suspense. Alfred Hitchcock knew how to captivate audiences with his movies, clutching the viewers in the thrall of impending terror. Hitchcock’s strategic recipe: “There is no terror in the bang, only in anticipation of it.” And the power of anticipation exists not only for fearful things but also for the wonderful.
There’s no greater treat than the thrill of hopping into a car, or onto an airplane, for an unknown destiny on a surprise trip planned by friends. We rob ourselves of joy when we ignore the excitement of what’s coming. Moreover, this enjoyment, being rooted in the future, can spring us from the prisons of the present should our present be burdened by anxiety, depression, or despair.
It releases us from the gnawing fear of a job that may suddenly disappear, the disheartening clangs of failure in marks missed, and the shrill alarm of the new shadow in a medical scan. It lifts us from the oppressive stream of experiencing a society sliding further into selfishness, entitlement, and hate. Anticipation is not a mere anodyne but a genuine transportation to a happier world.
That brings us to thoughts of the Kingdom. God’s grace-born opportunity to experience “a new heavens and a new Earth” as a new being oneself! Both world and residents finally resonate with the One who made them. A chance to see Creator and creation generating beauty in a powerful, harmonious union. But what will any of this be like? What will even we be like?
“You do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed,” intones the Apostle Paul. Not one of us could look at an acorn, having never seen an oak tree, and have any hope of predicting the size, structure or complexity of the towering magnificence which that acorn can ultimately become.
I focus purely on the anticipation
We are currently acorns, so to speak, and thus it is fruitless to spend mental energy trying to predict whatever oak tree qualities we may one day hold. My Kingdom speculations turn away from the elements the Bible shows I have no hope of comprehending to muse on the aesthetics themselves.
Thus I focus purely on the anticipation, embracing it as an entity in itself, without needing to solve any of the unknowns which that joy portends. This is faith in its naked state. I unapologetically marinate in the excitement of future discovery, knowing that, unlike any earthly promise, the revelation will not disappoint but rather amaze me, and the glorious transformations it will bring will never end.
Above all, I never forget the very best thing about anticipation. I can revel in it right now.
San Francisco Peninsula Ecclesia, CA
A Restored Eden
Spring has arrived in my garden here on Vancouver Island. Purple crocuses and yellow daffodils brighten the edges of the lawn. Cherry blossoms create a pink canopy overhead. The buds on the fruit trees are swelling. Crimson flowers are unfurling on the rhododendron. Pansies and primroses nod in the breeze. Bees are buzzing, birds are chirping, and the sun is shining. “Yes,” I think to myself. “This is a glimpse of Genesis 1:31 (NIV), that God saw “all that He made, and it was very good.’”
Then I see it, pushing up through the soil: a light green leafless stem. Horsetail weed. It’s back.
Maybe you know it. Equisetum arvense L., or Common Horsetail, also known as Bottlebrush, Foxbrush, Mare’s Tail, Snake grass, Scourweed, Pintop. A Google search tells us it’s a non-flowering evergreen perennial reproducing through spores rather than seeds and underground rhizomes.
And then these warnings: “Shallow tilling of the soil worsens the problem by spreading rhizomatous pieces that can regenerate. To prevent it from taking over your garden, it’s advisable to use soil barriers as it is a challenge to contain with a strong tendency to spread and form a monoculture.” And finally, “It is toxic to grazing animals.”
Now I am thinking Genesis 3:17-19 (NIV), “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it… It will produce thorns and thistles.”
Sin. Persistent, perennial, and pernicious. It creeps in, overtakes, and overwhelms the vulnerable. It’s toxic, impeding the growth of those around it. It tends to spread, is difficult to control, and chokes out diversity.
What am I looking forward to in the Kingdom? The Restored Eden. Revelation 22:1-3 (NIV) says,
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life… And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
Gillian Kenzie, Saanich Peninsula Ecclesia, BC
Working Forever Without Sin
You would think that I would look forward to eternal life, the experience of life without an end, that elusive prize that billionaires like Jeff Bezos are desperately investing in as they feel death’s sickening inevitability uncoiling mercilessly in their withering husks.
But it isn’t that I yearn for. The thing I’m most looking forward to in the Kingdom of God is freedom from sin and the pall it casts over all aspects of the life I now live in this unreliable and perpetually disappointing flesh. Sin’s tendrils extend into and curl around everything: my thoughts, words, and actions. Many days end for me with a sense of sadness born of the bruising of my heart by sin, my horrid companion. Thanks be to our God that this will end soon.
I yearn for a time when fully emancipated from my nature’s debilitating effects, I can be completely devoted to the service of my Master and his Father, with none of the dark-tinged clouds of selfishness that so impair my walk in the faith. Then, filled with boundless joy and love for the LORD, I can work before Him with an undivided heart, a service unconstrained by the lust of the eye and flesh and the pride of life. Then I will finally be a full-grown man in Christ, working selflessly as one of his brethren, healing the brokenness of the frightened and demoralized peoples of the earth, helping to bring them out of the darkness of ignorance and sin into the light of the LORD and His Word for the illumination of their lives, their hearts and minds.
To work forever without sin; there is nothing more precious to me. I pray every day that this will be the day that work begins for me.
Toronto West Ecclesia, ON
A Healed Earth
Where I live in Southern California, we’ve had several years of extreme drought. It rained so infrequently during my youngest daughter’s first few years of life that she was baffled the first time we got a sprinkling of rain. What was this wet stuff coming from the sky? However, this winter has brought record-breaking rainfall, making the chaparral hills near our home lush and green.
We recently went hiking with friends, and my daughters picked armfuls of colorful wildflowers as we walked past verdant fields on the way to a waterfall gushing down through the rocks. It was hard to believe that we were in the same place ravaged by wildfires in recent years, fueled by the abundance of dead grasses that usually cover the brown hills. It brought to mind the words of Isaiah 35:1 (ESV):
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.
Seeing those once-dead hills filled with new life brought by all the recent rain was a glimpse of the healing of God’s creation that will come in the Kingdom. In my mind, I’m zooming out from that day’s hike to picture all the earth healed, transformed, and renewed.
I love how Isaiah describes it:
And there’s so much more to be healed: healing of sicknesses, healing of minds and hearts, healing from sorrow:
I think of the joyful simplicity of Jesus’ words to Jairus’s daughter, “Child, arise!” And at that moment, everything changed completely for their family. That moment is coming for all the world when everything utterly changes and never returns to how it was before. Joy will make everything completely, entirely, unchangeably, irrevocably right: life from death, love that brings healing, and peace that brings restoration. It will come.
As surely as day follows even the darkest of nights, healing will come for God’s precious creation. Everlasting joy will come and banish sorrow and sighing forever. A healed earth filled with healed people: that is my prayer, my hope, and my vision of God’s Kingdom.
Simi Hills Ecclesia, CA