Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
—Jesus (Luke 12:31-32)
Had a good conversation before coffee (those bleary-eyed, fuzzy-headed moments) about the hard things of this world. The gospel is meaningless, robbed of both power and beauty, without first recognizing that our world is not the way it's supposed to be. Poverty, hunger, addiction, oppression, betrayal, rejection, and death are at the tip of a seemingly infinite iceberg of hurt. Shalom has been violated, broken.
Sometimes we face the hurts face-first, head-on. We grieve, we mourn, we weep. Other times the hurt hides, in the past or even in the future. Our hearts can hide as well, even as our heads acknowledge that things are hard. But this hardness stems from fear, and the fear is most often the fear of pain. The essence of the problem hasn't changed; it has only hidden.
Jesus speaks to our fear, my fear, directly— my assurance is not in the absence of pain, but in the goodness of my Father. He provides, He heals, He restores. Shalom will be reestabilshed— a kingdom has come and is coming, growing as huge tree from a tiny mustard seed, permeating this broken world as yeast worked through dough.
An orphan must live in fear, look out for himself, watch his back. A son can trust his Father, especially when He is the King.
What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air perched in its branches...
What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all though the dough.
—Jesus (Luke 13:18-21)