I listened to a great talk the other day by a lady called Ellie Mumford (yes, she does have a rather famous son) all about the now and the not-yet aspect of God’s Kingdom. You can download it from the Soul Survivor website for the bargain price of only £1 ( “a pound?! for a talk?!” I hear you say, but you’d pay 99p for a 3-minute song on iTunes, whereas this is 50 minutes and good for your spiritual health!)
I really want you to go listen to it, so I won’t tell you too much, but it did really challenge/encourage me.
She spoke about how the now and the not-yet of God’s Kingdom on earth relates to answered and unanswered prayer. This, she says, is because “the Kingdom means conflict”. She used an analogy of D-Day and VE-Day. On D-Day, the Second World War was essentially won, the Allies wouldn’t turn back again and the Nazis were on the retreat. However, between D-Day and VE-Day, when the Nazis surrendered and the war in Europe officially ended, there were still a lot of hard battles fought, a lot of casualties, a lot of losses. In the same way, when Christ came, the battle was technically won. However, the war is not over and won’t be until he comes again. In the meantime, there will still be casualties – there will still be sin and pain, prayers unanswered and mysteries of God not yet understood – but we can know that we are working towards the day of victory. It’s like this passage in Hebrews:
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:32-38 ESV)
Do you see that? Receiving the dead back by resurrection and then, in the very same verse, some were being tortured. The Kingdom means conflict.
And the fact that the Kingdom has come, means we can pray for outrageous things like healing and transformations and miracles and they will happen. But because the Kingdom is also yet to come, because the war is still being fought, though we know it will be ultimately be won, those prayers may not always be answered. But as Ellie said “More people get healed when I pray than do when I don’t”.
One other thing which I have to tell you that she said is that “denomination doesn’t matter a fig to the Lord!” – love it!
So, be encouraged – the Kingdom is here and it is still to come; and step out in faith because the victory is Christ’s.