The Gift of Agitation

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night?  I tell you, He will see that they get justice.”  –Luke 18:7-8a

John Piper, in his book, “A Hunger for God,” has very helpfully reminded us of what the appropriate posture of the church should be.  It is the posture of the longing bride, waiting at the altar for the appearing of the bridegroom.  She is tapping her foot and glancing at her watch.  The bride is filled with a “holy discontent” over the absence of her bridegroom and is busy crying out “Maranatha!  Maranatha!  Come Lord Jesus!”  The New Testament church exhibited this posture, because it was a persecuted church.  Christians were intimately acquainted with suffering and poverty.  They were eager for Christ to consummate His kingdom, because they knew that things on earth were not the way they were supposed to be.

Unfortunately, this agitated posture is not the posture of the typical American congregation.  We do not long fervently for the consummation of Christ’s kingdom because we’re really rather happy just the way things are.  American abundance and affluence anesthetize us.  We are comfortable.  We are not crying out night and day for God to bring justice on earth.  We forget to shout, Maranatha!

Face-to-face ministry among the poor, though, can stimulate within us the growth of an oh-so-needed “holy discontent.”  We allow ourselves to be touched with the brokenness and pain experienced by our needy neighbors.  As we entangle our lives with those who suffer, we can begin to become rightly agitated with the way things are (because they are not the way they’re supposed to be) and more eager for Christ to deliver on His promise to “make all things new” (Rev 21:5).

There is a holy agitation we should strive for.  The founder of World Vision, the largest Christian relief and development agency in the world, put it this way:  “God, let my heart be broken by the things that break Your heart.”

For Further Thought…

  1. What have you seen during your time in the community that you think breaks God’s heart?
  2. In your own life, what have you eagerly awaited?  How did you feel after you received it or after the event happened?
  3. Read and reflect on Revelation 21.  Of the new heaven and new earth that are described, what do you look forward to?  What do you think those in the community look forward to?

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