Middle child that I am, it has been my role to not make waves; somehow that just isn’t who I am. There’s this inner conflict: I want to please and be liked, yet I just can’t quite keep quiet when something doesn’t seem right. That can get me in trouble.
As believers, we can be like middle children born between two competing forces: the kingdom of this world and the kingdom of God. We are forced to take sides. The prophet Micaiah understood the implications of the choice he had to make. His first response was one of self preservation, but he couldn’t escape speaking the truth of God’s word to the king of Israel (2 Chronicles 22:14-16). It was cost him dearly, .
Joseph understood what it meant to live between colliding kingdoms as the murderous hand of Herod sought to kill the precious son of God whom he had been given the responsibility of protecting. Survival meant uprooting the family and fleeing to Egypt.
As followers of Jesus, “people of the Cross,” we long to live peaceably, but more than often, that isn’t going to happen here on earth; we belong to the kingdom of God, not to the kingdom of this world and there is a price we pay. Why am I surprised when I find myself rejected for holding onto the truth? Why am I shocked by news of Coptic Christians having been executed for their beliefs? Jesus, the truth of God made flesh and blood said, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No I tell you, but division. Luke 12:51.” So division it is.
But we are not a people abandoned by God. Jesus acknowledges that we pay a price to follow him, but he also holds out hope, “I have told you these things so that in me, you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33.”
Holy Spirit, when the kingdom of this world collides with your kingdom, give me the strength and wisdom to respond with your truth. Thank you for being the God of all comfort and strength for believers who find themselves paying a great price to follow you. May we all draw closer to you and find our hope in you when the days are dark. Amen.