A ‘hunch’ is a guess, randomly cobbled together from various sources (most of them reliable) with a generous smattering of intuition and imagination. May I share one of mine with you? Now, to be completely frank, the premise of this hunch could possibly get shredded by a panel of serious biblical scholars. I hope not, but I’ll leave that to them. Here’s the preamble to my hunch. As many of you are aware, in the Vineyard, we use a borrowed phrase, ‘the now and the not yet,’* the ‘now’ describing the breaking in of the Kingdom of God on earth, with the arrival of Jesus. The ’not yet’ describing the still-awaited, full manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. Here endeth my preamble.
And here beginneth my hunch. What if the ‘not yet’ is better understood less in terms of time, like yesterday, tomorrow, next year, and more like, say, a document that we’ve downloaded but haven’t yet read, or maybe funds which have been deposited into our account but which we’ve not yet accessed, not yet withdrawn? In each of these scenarios, the document and the funds, they are ‘ours,’ but in a sense ‘not yet’ ours as we’ve not fully profited from their being in our possession. For example, if the downloaded, but unread, document is required reading for an upcoming test, its information is not functionally ours and we may fail the test because we’ve failed to make the ‘not yet,’ ‘now,’ simply by reading it. In the case of the funds, if they are our wages directly deposited into our account in time to pay a bill, and we fail to withdraw the needed amount, we needlessly fall into late payment penalty simply by failing to make the ‘not yet’ monies ‘now’ by means of a simple withdrawal.
Applying my hunch to this journey we are on with Jesus (you knew this was coming, didn’t you?), what if much more of the full provision of the Kingdom (what we often relegate to the ‘not yet’) were, in fact, already ours for the asking, already ours for the reaching out and receiving, already ours for the asking and receiving even when it’s the ‘eleventh hour?’ What if we acknowledge all that is wrong with us, all that is missing in us, all our weaknesses, etc. but choose, at the same time, to believe that God is faithful to us in ways that we can’t explain, in situations that don’t make sense, in pain and unresolved situations that seem unbearable? What if this business of being ‘more than conquerors’ is simply a reach into the ‘not yet’ and a receiving by faith what has been promised? What if Jesus is just waiting for us to ‘live by faith in the Son of God,’ stopping not at the ‘now’ but expectantly peering, by faith, into the ‘not yet’? What if our prayers (halting and unsophisticated as they may be) are much more weaponlike than we’ve supposed? What if our prayers hit the target every time without fail because of the faithfulness of Jesus? It’s just a hunch. So looking forward to seeing y’all tomorrow on the first day of our Daylight Savings Time, 10 AM, 3 PM FR. PD
*A Theology of the New Testament, by George Eldon Ladd (1911-1982),
Professor of New Testament exegesis and theology at Fuller Theological Seminary.