“This sucks!” Pardon the expression. It’s a quote from a young woman watching her father breath his last. I, being in the hospital room, heard the expression and watched the last breath.
The young woman who uttered those words many years ago was not a Christian. She clearly loved her father and was rightly sorrowful as he died. But it was also clear that she didn’t have a category for what was happening. This was true not only because of her expression, but also because of the empty platitudes that she uttered as her father was removed from life support. For her, all she had was this present world. She had a kingdom that was of this world. And the problem with that kingdom, like any kingdom of this world, was that it failed, fell apart, and was destroyed.
The writer of Hebrews offers something far better than the kingdom of this world. He offers (God offers!) a better kingdom. He declares in Hebrews 12:28, “we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken.” This kingdom that we are receiving contrasts the kingdoms all around us in that they can be shaken.
A few years ago I drove two fence posts into the ground to use as a firm backdrop for a board I wanted to hold in place for an activity. I pounded the posts, and bolted the board to the posts. After the activity was over, I attempted to pull those posts out from the ground. The first was easy. I simply grabbed the top, wiggled it back and forth for a few moments, and slid it out.
The second was not so easy. I wiggled and wiggled, pulled and pulled, and grunted and groaned trying to shake that fence post free from the ground. My efforts failed: it was not coming out!
We often think that the kingdoms of this earth are like the second post. They don’t move. We speak of our own nation as the greatest country on earth. It may well be. However, along comes an unseen virus and it grinds 30 percent of our country to a screeching halt. Our country has been shaken. Our kingdom has been shaken. So too all the smaller kingdoms. The kingdoms of college basketball, high school graduation, spring break, music festivals, family get-togethers, and so on have all been shaken.
Christians have a better kingdom. Jesus has promised it. His death and resurrection has secured our place in it. Our hope rests in this coming kingdom that will not be shaken.
Lord Jesus, come quickly.