Living in an unseen Kingdom

We began driving on Sunday morning, just hours after Daylight Savings Time ended in Ohio. Our route took us southwest, into the Central time zone, then we turned east again. By the time I fell into bed at the motel, I didn’t care what time it was. My body just knew it was time for bed.

But in the early morning darkness, the red numbers on the clock felt false. Was that clock right? Had we changed time zones again the night before?

I flipped open my cell phone. No, we were still in Central time. The Cell Phone Knows. The town in which we spent the night was very close to the Eastern time zone, and perhaps someone with an appointment the next day had set the phone to Eastern time instead of Central. Or maybe the adjustment had never been made from Daylight Savings Time. Confusing. But I trusted my cell phone. It Knows.

That morning, less than an hour’s drive away, my cell phone flipped ahead one hour to Eastern time. That little thing receives its signals from the tower, and It Knows.

Have you ever seen a time zone? Yet our lives are regulated by those invisible borders.

“We live in a kingdom that I’ve never seen…” That’s a line from a song by Miriam Therese Winter, recorded on an LP* we had at home when we were kids. Recently, my sister found the songs available on a CD, so I’m listening to them again. And this phrase jumped out at me, because it’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.

Actually, thinking is what I’ve been thinking about.

The prophet Isaiah said, 

The LORD has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does. He said,
“Don’t call everything a conspiracy, like they do,
     
And don’t live in dread of what frightens them.
Make the Lord of Heaven’s Armies holy in your life.
       
He is the one you should fear.
He is the one who should make you tremble.
      
He will keep you safe.

War is imminent; Judah is about to be invaded and the prophet has warned that they will be crushed. The picture is grim: their society is filled with evil, injustice, and corruption; the future holds only darkness, distress, and captivity.

The LORD tells Isaiah that he must not think like those around him, fearful of what they might suffer at the hands of the enemy, dreading the future. Instead, look higher than man. God is the one who holds your future. He is the one who should command fear and trembling. He alone is the one who keeps you safe. Man is nothing compared to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

When we think about our lives, is our thinking caught, limited, circumscribed only by what’s going on in this worldly kingdom? Today in my hometown voters are looking at a ballot with some very hot issues. How will the outcome of those votes determine how you see your life? Do these things define your life? How important to your future is the next presidential election?

Do we think like the world — believing that everything depends on this human race and what it can or cannot accomplish? Do our sights ever go higher than human actions and efforts? Do we believe that our future depends solely on what happens here at earth level?

I ask the Spirit to take us beyond that. Your life, child of God, is part of something much more than the country, state, community and culture in which you live your earthly life.

Jesus said His kingdom is now here. It is not something we wait for, something we hope will arrive someday. We are a part of that kingdom now. Can we see beyond what’s going on in our society and our government to glimpse the kingdom in which we live as people chosen and adopted by the Lord of the universe?

Just as surely as King David and Jesus’ mother, Mary, and the apostle Paul are part of God’s story, so are we. We are living out the history of the kingdom of God right now. Can we catch that perspective?

Can we stop thinking like the world around us and ask God to give us a glimpse of His thoughts? Do we think about living out our lives in this unseen kingdom? After all, that is where your true life lies.   

I want to be like my cell phone, so tuned in to my tower that my thinking is aligned with His kingdom, no matter what the rest of the world is saying or thinking.

Scripture: Isaiah 8:11-14 (NLT)

* Joy is like the Rain, by the Medical Mission Sisters, www.medicalmissionsisters.org

 

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