December 21 - Jeni Fischer

“Then they gathered around him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’” Acts 1:6

The disciples had just spent forty days with the resurrected Christ, reconnecting with someone they thought was gone forever. Luke tells us that he spoke with them about the kingdom of God, then gave them the command to wait in Jerusalem for the gift the Father had promised, the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

What followed is revealed in the verse above—they gathered around him and asked if he would (finally!) take his place as a king over Israel, overthrowing the Romans and allowing the Jewish homeland to once again be an independent, sovereign nation, along with all the blessings that had been promised through the prophets for that historic era.

I wonder how Jesus initially responded to this. He had just risen from the dead and had been telling them for forty days about God’s vision for his kingdom and how they would be a part of it, empowered and emboldened by the indwelling of God’s very Spirit. But all they could see was the brutal occupation of a foreign ruling power and they wanted relief. So human. So relatable. Don’t we do the same? While God is calling us to something so beyond earthly systems such as politics and self-help books and “being good,” we wonder why he doesn’t change our circumstances. 

When the light God sends isn’t the one we were hoping for, can we allow him to change our hopes and our plans for the future and see his vision instead? Or if that vision remains murky (“why did this have to happen this way?”), can we trust that whatever he is doing, it will be good—not just for his purposes, but also for us? Our pain matters to God. But when we sing that he’s a “good, good Father,” let us remember that sometimes that means things don’t go according to (our) plan, but they always go according to his. And that is much greater than whatever is taking up so much space on our horizon.