I don’t know about you, but the concept of a spiritual world frightens, confuses, delights, overwhelms, and intrigues my heart all at the same time. It’s just a bit too much for my Western-hemisphere brain to comprehend easily, so I’d rather try to explain away, or simply avoid the concept of dark and light forces altogether.
Honestly, it’s easier to be cynical about the whole idea.
“Did Jesus really say that?”
“Are we sure there are still angels and demons? People coming back from the dead?”
Passages like the one found in Matthew 27: 51-53 frighten me and leave me in awe:
“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.”
It’s the lack of control I have over things that scares me. We fear things we don’t understand easily. Like calculus, for example…I fear calculus. Because I don’t get it. And I fear others beliefs when they don’t align with mine, because I don’t understand them. Dead people coming to life doesn’t exactly make sense to me either. But talk about power! Wow! It gives me goosebumps…
As I read the story of Easter today, I found my heart captivated by Jesus’ heart for us. John 17 has always been one of my favorite chapters of the Bible. He’s about to be arrested, led to ‘trial’ and crucified for me and you, and the other people that would have shouted, “Crucify Him!” on that day. And he’s praying, for us…
Quick sidebar – think about it for a minute – would you not have shouted the same thing? Our natural inclination when our way of life is called into question or we’re called to something greater than ourselves is to pick up arms and defend our pride. And Jesus asks us to turn that internal world upside down, put our pride to death, and allow humility of heart to lead us to relational reconciliation. That’s hard. I’m not a huge fan of hard. Left to my own vices and joining in the mob-mentality. On that Good Friday, I would have shouted, “Crucify him!” – and that breaks my heart. I hate to break it to you, but you would have too. I’m so freaking thankful for grace and a God that loved me before I could love Him.
Okay – back to Jesus praying for us.
He’s about to be arrested. Judas has betrayed him. Peter will deny him. His Father in Heaven will forsake Him for our sake! And he prays. For us! “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:43-44) He’s sweating blood, anxiety has a temporary hold on his heart, and he prays for us!
I’m not going to quote John 17. Go read it for yourself. But it drives me wild that he thought to pray for you and me while enduring that much stress. What a King!
A spiritual world frightens us. We don’t pray, because it’s been categorized as a relic of past generations. It doesn’t hold any real power. Or so we think.
Prayer is only socially acceptable in our present political and public landscape when tragedy has struck or in remembrance of holidays (i.e. Easter/Christmas). In general, we live in an increasingly agnostic, spiritually dark culture. The Western hemisphere has wandered away from a supernatural reality. Yet our hunger for Heaven and its fulfillment are ever more present as our thirst for contentment drowns us. Prayer is the doorway to Heaven – our direct-line to the “oval office” of His Kingdom – and yet we’ve simply grown apathetic to its presence, reality, and power – and often find that we’ve accepted the culture’s interpretation that spirituality is myth and not power.
My heart’s yearning and my prayer is that we’re proven wrong – that there’s an awakening, first in our hearts and then in our culture. Make America Great Again may have been ruined as Trump’s branding statement, but if we truly want to Make America Great Again, then we have to return to our roots at least a little bit – and pray.
“If God is for us, then who can stand against us?”
The spirit-world is there. Authors like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis bring these things to life with their stories of child-like wonder. They paint fictional worlds that bring to life spiritual realities. The spirit-world is scary, but I have good news – light wins. So I want to stand in the Light.
Jesus will return on a white horse and lead the Kingdom of Light to victory. Think Braveheart. But even more B.A. than that. Satan and his deceivers will be thrown into a lake of fire. And His Kingdom will come, on earth as it is Heaven. (Read Revelation 19 & 20 if you don’t believe me.)