The promise of a Savior is a self-sustaining prophecy. That is, nobody needs to keep telling the story of what God has promised to do; by virtue of living in a fallen world, most of us are already hanging all over the idea that there has to be more than this. You even make a whisper of Jesus - the answer to this - and people are ready to jump on board. The mere idea that there's something, or Someone, greater out there is enough to keep the hope alive.
And yet, here we are as a people of faith, and it seems that we're still living in that long-awaited prophecy. Living, waiting on the Messiah. Told, believing that He has come so that He can be coming and that one day - one day - He will answer the prophetic longings in our hearts that are hanging on the hope that He is coming.
It's nice. It's part of the God package, and it's nice. But in a world hurting for faith, I don't think it does us any good to be people living on the promise of the Christ. Nor does it do us any good to keep talking about it.
What we need is to be people who live and talk about the Promise, Christ.
Not the prophecy, but the Prophet. The one who came to speak truth into this life. Not the one who showed up to show up that He will show up again.
We are a people who will always hold out hope for heaven. We are a people who believe in that, regardless of the depth of our faith in that promise. We're all waiting on that day when all this makes sense or at least it gets better and with the quiet suggestion that this thing is out there while we're looking in the mirror of this world, I don't think that hope is going away any time soon.
But what about today? What good is tomorrow's hope for heaven if today is pure hell?
Our world is looking for a God who is present here and now. A God whose promise is real and tangible for these days, for these times. Do you know what happens when you tell the world about a God who is coming tomorrow? They think they have until tomorrow to believe in Him.
And we, the people who already believe in Him, spend more time believing in His tomorrow than crying out for Him today. I want a God who answers me right now. I want a God who is standing right beside me. I want a God who holds my hand and touches my heart and tells me this is all going to be ok. I want a God who brings the fullness of His power that even fathoms such a thing as Heaven and indwells that in my life today, to face the problems I'm facing, to answer the questions I'm asking, to be the God I need today.
I have that God. You have that God. But we're all just sitting here, content that this isn't Heaven but that tomorrow might be because of the promise of Christ.
Christ is the promise!
Christ, right now, is the promise. For the next life, and for this one. He is the presence of the promise that said God isn't just coming; He has come. He is here. He has been in this flesh and now He is in this flesh - mine and yours.
It's what makes His tomorrow worth believing in. All religions have some promise as to what happens to us after we die. Where we go. What we do. What becomes of what we were. What we will be. The difference in Christ is that through the Promise Himself, we have reason to believe we can believe in that promise.
If we are to be a people of faith, and if we are to make an impact in telling the story of Christ, we have to stop talking about a hope of Heaven (as nice and pleasant and perfectly promised as that is). Hope itself tells that story; we're all ready to get out of here.
We have to live not off the promise but in the Promise. We have to live believing God for today as much as we believe Him for tomorrow. We have to tell the story of what God does now, now that prophecy is fulfilled. Our hopes for tomorrow are solid. It's today that I really need my God to speak to me.
The only reason for faith, the only valid reason to hold our tomorrows for Him, is because He holds us today.