July 19, 2014

Just When You Think You Know...

Acts 1:1-9

They gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
—Acts 1:6


The story of Israel was the story of God’s kingdom. Any faithful Jew could tell you of the long story of God leading them to the promised land, and of all the ups and downs over the generations as they slowly learned that they needed to trust the Author whose stories could be so hard to predict.

God’s story for them had been a tough one lately: Roman soldiers had been patrolling their streets for almost 100 years. But now things were beginning to happen: Jesus, their Deliverer, had finally come. The religious rulers had managed to get him executed by the Romans in an attempt to silence him, but now he was alive again, having conquered even death!

So Jesus’ followers asked, in ­effect, “Lord, is this when you will finally take back the kingdom from these Romans?”

They thought they’d seen it all, but, as Jesus’ answer showed, they hadn’t seen anything yet. He gave them orders to wait for his Spirit to come—and then they would bring his good news to the whole earth!

Their hopes had been focused on the only land they’d ever known; but Jesus’ story for them would bring them around the world, claiming it for the kingdom that reaches far beyond a patch of land in Palestine. As a Gen­tile living in North America, I’m glad God’s story has extended to include people like me in his kingdom.

But it makes me wonder: What else don’t we see coming?

Lord Jesus, keep us open to the new chapters you have for us in your story. In your name we pray and trust. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!