Dec 7, 2012

Fighting for Heaven


There's this question that's been hovering.

It's in my mind and on the lips of my dearest girlfriends and scrawled throughout the pages of my journal.  This question of God's will and how it happens in our life.  This question of struggles and suffering.

We keep asking, what do we accept and what do we fight?  What do we receive as God’s will and what do we reject? 

There is so much spiritual warfare language in Christian culture and I've gotten fired up about it.  I've gotten sassy with the devil and told him to get behind me and that I bind him in the name of Jesus and that I rebuke his influence and authority in my life. But I've also knelt before God and acknowledged his sovereignty and said the other things we always say.  That he is in control.  That he is good.  That nothing happens in my life outside of his permission and I will embrace the story that he is writing for me.

So which is it?  

How do we pray over the unpleasant things in our lives?  How do we persist in asking for the things that aren't there (as if God acts when we fight for action) and yet still remain satisfied and thankful with their absence (as if everything is already under his control)?

The only answer that seems to make any sense? 

To pray like Jesus did. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Basically, he is just asking for heaven on earth - and so lately, so do I.


I don't think Jesus would have told us to ask if God didn't want to say yes -- if he didn't desire to see heaven, glimpses of his kingdom, breaking through on this earth.  And I also don’t think he would have told us to ask if the earth was already perfect, if nothing ever happened that was outside of his will. So I ask; I ask God to bring heaven into our story. To take our broken, sin-drenched situation and make it look and act more like heaven. I imagine begging for it, reaching up into heaven and receiving it, bringing it down. I want as much heaven in my life as possible.    

And at the same time I know that this place where I live is not heaven and he never promised that it would be. 

It’s hard to admit (but if we’re honest we must), sometimes good just doesn’t win down here. 

We may fight and race and climb ever upward, set our eyes on heavenly things and battle with the spiritual powers that seek to reside in all our “heavenly places,” fight to make this earth and our lives look more like heaven - just like I believe we are meant to do.  But sometimes even in our best race we come in last and we just have to trust that the last on earth shall be first in heaven.  We trust that even when we are buckled over and weeping in this world, exhausted from our fight and brokenhearted from our loss, in that same moment in heavenly places we are receiving a crown.  A reward for our faithful race. Victory.

Things are not always as they seem in this kingdom of his.




And I know that while he doesn't live in this earth, he does live in me. God lives in us. His will can be perfectly accomplished in us. And so even though this earth is a broken, decaying, God-empty place that is not our home and holds no guarantees of “wins”, we are the heaven-bearers walking through it.   

My life has had loss, sure.  I have prayed for things that have not happened.  I have watched other Christians suffer tragedy, death, Cancer, misfortune.  I don’t think it was due to our lack of fight or faith, I think it was because this earth isn’t heaven. 

But there is a spiritual man in me, in us, a heaven-dweller, and he is invincible.  He lives with power and authority.  He is promised health and guaranteed broken-chains.  When he seeks wholeness and freedom, he will find it.  Heaven on earth. Every. Single. Time.

I had a moment recently, talking with a friend, where I looked my loss right in the face and spoke something that I didn’t even know I felt.  In this third miscarriage, my prayers weren’t answered and I did not receive a perfect, heavenly outcome.  I asked for life and got death, I asked for blessing and I received heartbreak.  Things looked and felt very broken.  But somehow I still felt incredibly powerful because I had asked for healing in my soul and I actually received it.  I sought wisdom and I found it. I chose joy and I felt it.  I rebuked the lies of Satan that were in my ears and they vanished. 

“There is something inside me that is indestructible,” I told her. I walk through a broken battlefield as a conqueror.  More so.

Because I fight for heaven to break through on this earth and sometimes it really does.  But always I walk with hope because of this great treasure.  This secret.  This pearl of great price, the kingdom of God.

Him living inside of me.  Heaven on earth, every time.



8 comments:

  1. Good stuff, Britney! What if it's really not about the appearance of the physical at all but always about the state of our souls? I have prayed for and am thankful for your joy in the midst of your despair. Love you, friend.

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    1. I am thankful for YOU, so much. Love you too!

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  2. yes... conqueror.
    Speaking into suffering is so hard. Jesus is compassionate, he grieves with us..like in the story of lazarus when he weeped when his friend died knowing full well that he was going to raise him and show his glory..so we reflect God's compassion and grief with others as they walk through life (which in scripture never says to expect life to be easy or that it is easy it talks quite the contrary with it will be hard, there will be suffering, etc). But we care for people and their struggles as God did. He's so personal and not distantly ruling without love and tender care. He can be both loving and good and in control..All of those things can be true at one time in the midst of suffering, it is a mystery.

    And we hold tight that God is in control, he is absolutely sovereign and nothing surprises him. And that he is also Good. We see it in the story of Job when he allowed evil, he did not author it, but he allowed and remained ruling as God, so that his glory would be shown and so that Job would know and taste and see of the Lord more deeply..which would be Job's ultimate joy. Job got to see God and taste of his holiness in verse 42 like he had never gotten to before, and was changed forever and love and understanding deepened more than it would have been without God allowing that suffering. God knows like you said above that our circumstances don't define our joy or change who God is and in whom our hope, life, and joy remain.

    And then God makes other promises that he will work all things together for the good of those who love him. He promises that. I believe him. It doesn't mean that things are not hard and that we don't struggle through and call out to God all day long in need of him, just reading the psalms give us a picture into what relationship and calling out to God looks like, but it means that we can be certain that he has won, and will win. He is making all things new, redeeming the whole world and everything in it in this already but not yet kingdom that he is establishing. He said it is finished on the cross and he meant it. He has won and beat satan. Satan has no hold on us like you said above so beautifully. And at the end of this very short time of life, we will see him face to face, he will wipe all the tears from our eyes and we will see the redemption of his blood as heirs in the kingdom of God where joy will never end.

    So even if in this fallen world, where there is sin, injustice and pain and wrongful suffering and all of these other things that God either came to die to pay the penalty for us if we trust in him or will judge in perfect justice for eternity where those sins will be paid for... and if in this fallen world where we are tasting the effects of a fallen sinful world where things are not perfect and as they should be and there needs to be a savior of...we can hope for eternity where there will be no tears, no pain, no injustice, no death. At the end of time Jesus on a white horse with a double edged sword coming out of his mouth like it says in Revelation will come down and conquer and judge... and redeem all of his people that remain on this earth. And It WILL be GLORIOUS. We will know redemption and we will see the end of the story that God is writing, that he's invited us to be a part of. We can trust him. He knows what He's doing. Thanks for posting this B. I had to regurgitate all of my thoughts here as I was thinking deeply about what you wrote. :) You give so much glory to God in your suffering, B. And are a testament to the power of the gospel to change lives and give joy amongst suffering. God proclaims his power through you.

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    1. Oh, Trina, I love it! How much I miss sitting on your rug and spilling my guts (or picking at it and listening while others do the same, haha). I completely understand the need to regurgitate thoughts into writing, it helps so much. Thank you for feeling this deeply with me and thinking through it so much. You are a blessing!

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  3. And that's how you have spurred me on....that through hard times, you are still victorious. You still have allowed and accepted God to give you joy in any circumstance. That amazes me even though I know it's how we are called to be... Filled with His joy and peace always.

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    1. Thankful for your sharpening friendship!!

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  4. I should probably just stop commenting, since every one of mine seems to say the same thing...you are singing the words of my heart-song right here! I know I've said it before, but keep writing. Your transparency is an example of how the Body is supposed to work. We share together, we suffer together, we rejoice together, we grow together (even in different states :))

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    1. I love your comments! I could hear the same thing over and over again. It is such an encouragement and joy for me to know that we are all living this out together. I love being able to write my thoughts here and then see what gets stirred up :) Thankful for you!

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