Come, Lord Jesus

A friend visited me in Nashville a few years back and after spending some time downtown he said, “You guys have a real homelessness problem here!” My reply was simple: “Actually, we have a mental healthcare problem here.”

I think it’s the same almost everywhere in America. It’s not so much that people won’t work or that there’s not enough cheap housing. The problem is that people are psychotic, neurotic, clinically depressed, schizophrenic, and have no idea how to manage the pain, rage, and sadness in which they’re drowning. Over the years they’ve learned coping mechanisms: lying, stealing, sex, alcohol and drugs to try to dull the pain and escape the insanity. Of course those things only work for a little while and when they stop working the result is estrangement from family, friends, and church, then eviction, and then homelessness.

I find that most people want to help with problems such as poverty and homelessness. People dig into their own pockets, and churches dig into their bank accounts, to help. As a society we fund numerous government programs for housing, food stamps, unemployment benefits, and a host of other ministries. Can you imagine how bad the situation would be if we as a society didn’t use wide-ranging programs to try and help? Just visit a nation without the resources and/or political will to take care of its poorest people. What you see there are children begging on the street and vast shanty-towns of desperately poor people living in cardboard shacks. American cities could easily look just like that if it weren’t for private and government programs that try to help

Here’s my point in all this: we all have our role to play in participating in Jesus’ redemption and restoration of this mess. Some of us earn big bucks so we can contribute money through taxes and donations. Some of us have been gifted to heal mental health problems. Some of us keep order in the midst of the chaos by serving in the police force. Some of us mold young minds in schools to try and break the cycle. Some of us show love to the unloved by hugging them and praying for them at church.

And we can all participate in working to revolutionize the very nature of humanity’s perception of reality. The world needs a better God-knowledge (theology) than the one it has inherited from previous generations. The world needs a knowledge of God rooted in the Trinity, in Jesus, and in humanity’s adoption into the Trinity through the flesh and blood of Jesus. This is the heart of evangelism: all of us playing our part to help make sure that in the next generation there will be even more people who know who Jesus really is and who humanity really is in him. And then there will be even more in the generation after that, and even more in the generation after that, and so on, for centuries to come, until the knowledge of the Lord fills the earth as the waters cover the sea.

I know some of you are saying “Well, that won’t happen until Christ returns.”

Can you imagine if St. Paul and the other apostles had adopted that attitude 2,000 years ago? I can hear them now: “Oh, Christ will be back in a few years, so no need to preach the good news about him or try to change the world one person at a time.” In spite of all the problems we face, the world is still a better place today than it was in the days of the apostles, and it is a better place because they set out from Jerusalem with the good news of Jesus and a dream to change the world. I don’t know when Christ will return. But I do know that the good news of humanity’s adoption in Christ is the solution to the problems we are facing. It was the solution two millennia ago, it’s the solution today, and it will be the solution even when Christ comes in glory.

So my prayer is the same as that of the first Christians: Come, Lord Jesus. May the knowledge of who you are, and who humanity is in you, come now in the lives of all those who are suffering today. May it come in the lives of my children and grand-children and great grand-children. And yes, Lord, come again in glory so that we may all know the life of the world to come. Amen.

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. Ted Johnston on

    Amen brother.

  2. Jerome Ellard on

    Yes! AMEN.

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