In the last post we established that the end is essential. Knowing the end, motivates us in the “meantime.” More precisely, knowing the true, ultimate end—the “when” of reality, rather than the “when” of our wanting—gives us patience, perseverance, and certain hope (which is the only kind of hope God gives).
Our vision of “a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness” is bold, but it is sure. There is a definite end. He has declared it from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and today I’m going to cut right to the chase and tell you exactly when every bit of sexual abuse and woundedness will cease:
It will all end when the King of Kings and Lord of Lords establishes the new heavens and the new earth.
God will dwell among His people. He will wipe away every tear. No one will “buy” human lives. There will no longer be any curse. We will see His face. We will be like Him. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and… The End (Revelation 21:3-4; 18:11-13; 22:3-4; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:13).
The assurance and wholeness of this hope is incredibly motivating—total freedom! the whole world!—but on the other hand… I know. This “when” doesn’t feel exact enough. An eternal God who exists outside of time is lofty. It is hard to make sense of this as time-bound, frail-framed humans. There is a tension to our waiting that has commonly been expressed as, “already, not yet.”
Already the end has been decided, and to the Eternal, Existant One, “it is done” yes, “these words are faithful and true” (Revelation 21:5-6).
And yet, not yet. From our vantage point, the end has not yet been fully realized. Today injustice, heartbreak, loss, and wickedness persist.
Our ultimate hope—certain as it may be—seems painfully far off!
But listen to more of the “when” language of the Word:
Our salvation is nearer now than when we first begun. He is coming quickly. With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. He is not slow as some count slowness, but is patient. It is not for us to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. (Romans 13:11; Revelation 22:12; 2 Peter 3:8-9; Acts 1:7)
Already and not yet. Further than we like, and closer than we realize. The best way for us to think about “when”, then, is to take the long view. This is why accuracy in our words and the truth about our hope is so vital! As we discussed in our last post, an arrogant approach rooted in self, or a naïve approach rooted in wishful thinking will promote a sprint mentality toward a mere mirage, a false “end”. No, what is required is a marathon mindset of faithfulness.
Pursuing a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness will be a lifelong journey for each of us.
Our call is to exaltation, expectation, and endurance.
We exalt Jesus. My favorite part about this perfect Hope is it is fixed on Him! Seeing continual heartache and suffering on all sides will wear you down. Over and over again, when things—big, significant things—don’t come about in my way or on my timeline, I have to be reminded of this bigger promise. If we believe “the end” is on our shoulders, we will be crushed! But it is on His shoulders, and
“He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”
We expectantly await His return. We expect Him to do great things in our midst between now and then, and we celebrate every transformed heart, home, and community along the way.
We endure. We pray through tears over grave injustices that still exist. We beg, “Come Lord Jesus, come!” We do not grow weary of doing good (Galatians 6:9). Today we toil to see a world free. And tomorrow? We’ll do it again.
“When” is a lot to take in! Next week we’ll take a deeper look at how this transcendent vision of a world free of sexual exploitation and brokenness affects our “meantime” mission, and how you as a parent, mentor, leader, aunt, uncle, coach, teacher—disciple-maker—can keep this vision before you and let it impact your day to day life.