With so much currently happening in our world, it is easy to look around and only see chaos, fear, and uncertainty, instead of the shalom we have been promised. From Ukraine to Israel and Palestine, to the constant unrest that so many face just in day-to-day survival, how easy it is to become overwhelmed, allowing waves of worry to envelop us.
I live and work in Guatemala, and even though it has not been covered much in global news, the country has been in the midst of a precarious political upheaval which has included road blocks, protests, and limited access to basic goods such as food for those who need it most. The situation commenced when an underdog presidential candidate who stood for anti-corruption won the election back in August. Many in the country were ignited with hope, in anticipation of a potentially upright leader. The current government then began attempts to block the president-elect from taking office. Protests erupted in response, as a way to speak out against the ever-present corruption that has haunted the land for so long. Indigenous Mayan leaders are at the front of the charge, in a country where they have been silenced throughout history. They are taking a stand petitioning for something better; for shalom, resolution, and righteousness to rule their nation.
As I walk out my door, I can feel the tension. Plagued by oppression, corruption and violence throughout history, the current state of fear and unrest nationwide seems to be the straw that will break the camel’s back. There is growing division and increased racial discrimination, and life that was already difficult for so many has just gotten harder. The inability to travel to and from work, the lack of access to food, etc. have created an increased struggle. Amidst the expanding unrest, however, there are also glimmers of hope. There is a steadfast call for something better. Leaders are praying for their nation, that peace and restoration will prevail and break the history of oppression, corruption, and violence.
When we do not know what the future holds, and when upheaval and unrest play at the forefront of our attention, it can be so hard to see that this is not the end of the story. Rather, we have been authorized to call down the Kingdom within the conflict. Jesus taught us how to pray to the Father when He was living in this broken world, asking for His Kingdom to come, and that His will would be done on earth as it is in Heaven. It is during these times of precarious uncertainty that we cry out from the deep places in our hearts for His Kingdom to come down to earth. In His Kingdom there is no death; in His Kingdom there is no sickness; in His Kingdom there is no pain; in His Kingdom there is no injustice. Together we intercede for His shalom, His profound and perfect peace to invade the brokenness of this world. Through these prayers, we hold onto the promise of wholeness, that what we see and are currently experiencing is not the end of the story. There is more, and sometimes shalom means leaning into the ache of the present world in which we live, while being fully convinced of the restoration and abundance that we can still experience of His Kingdom, here on earth, just as it is in Heaven. As our inner-selves are buoyed by this hope, we then become conduits of God’s shalom to those around us, partnering with the Sprit for the Kingdom to come; right here, today.
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