Some of you probably wonder what the title of my blog means. It doesn’t seem to make much sense at first glance. Its a stolen phrase, I didn’t come up with it and I honestly don’t know who did. I first heard it from my brother who is also my pastor. It is, in my opinion, the perfect way to describe the Kingdom of God. We have not yet reached it but it is also already here. God’s redemption plan is not finished and we are not fully restored, yet God lives in us, among us and brings his Kingdom through us. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
I was struck by this today as I spent some time in silence before my Creator. It is often in these times God brings great revelation and he held true to that today. He birthed a deep desire in my heart that, to put it mildly, surprised me. (I don’t feel I can disclose the details just yet) At the same time came the realization that my life, my marriage, my family is not even close to being what it needs to be for this desire to become a reality. The desire consumed me and the realization of the brokenness that is keeping me from it gave me an ache in my soul I’ve never experienced. Enter the enemy. It is undoubtedly true that brokenness draws our Savior to us like a magnet to a steel beam. (Matthew 5:3, Psalm 51:17) But the one who “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8) preys on our brokenness too. He whispered, “You’ll never have that. God will never fulfill your desire because you aren’t good enough. You’re too weak. You’re broken. Can’t you see how messed up you are? You might as well forget about that.”
Pain and brokenness turned into despair and hopelessness. All I could see was my current situation and at that all I could do was weep.
Then I heard another voice whisper…”Emmanuel“….and I remembered….
God is here!
Not all things have been redeemed yet so I still suffer pain and brokenness in this world. But God is with me NOW. My Comforter, my Rock, my Defender, my Shield…Abba Father (which in the original language means “Daddy”). His greater purpose to restore all of creation, including me, perfectly overshadows the suffering I might face today. Even more, he invites me to be part of his greater purpose and my suffering then becomes part of that purpose too because my suffering is part of me. This gives me hope. This changes everything!
Living in the “already but not yet” is just that. Realizing things are not yet as they should be, so, there is pain, suffering, disease, heartache and disappointment to say the least. But God’s great purpose, his rescue plan, has been activated and HE IS HERE. We are being rescued! And our life, if we let it, can be part of God’s great rescue mission…messy, dark, broken and depraved as it is. That, my friends, is REDEMPTION. Not something we are just waiting for and looking forward to, but something we can have TODAY.
It is THE ALREADY BUT NOT YET.