How can you say God reigns?

How can we talk about the kingdom of God when everything has gone wrong?

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God reigns? What does that mean? Does it mean I’m a conqueror who can defeat any enemy and no evil can touch me?

This morning I woke to news that cut deep into my being. Someone I’d met briefly, a servant of King Jesus from our own city here in Perth, had died. Geoff Freind from Morley Salvation Army had gone to Malawi to proclaim “Good News!” He was attacked on the streets, and died in hospital. His wife and four sons are trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

freind_geoffandlyn
Geoff and Lyn Freind

Can I ask those of you who re-post mindless memes on Facebook to stop? Yesterday someone posted a picture of Daniel in the lion’s den, with the text, “The God who protected Daniel from the lions is the same God who will protect you and your family.” You have no right to make such false promises in God’s name. Stop being false prophets!

Are you ignorant that so many of Jerusalem’s soldiers had died in Daniel’s day that they struggled to bury them? Don’t you know what they did to Jesus? Have you never considered how James died? And Peter? And Paul? Almost all of Jesus’ disciples?

There are amazing stories where God saved a Daniel from the mouths of lions, but you can neither promise nor demand that he do so. Be honest about the heroes God did not deliver too:

Hebrews 11:36–38 (NIV)
36
Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

So what do you say to Lyn Freind and their four sons?

Probably nothing. There are no words. It’s too late for clichés and false promises. To know their pain, just listen:

The family wish to give their thanks to God and the many people who have given support to Geoff and the family during this time. Geoff loved Jesus and wanted the world to know him.

The WA Today article continues:

According to the Salvation Army, Malawi is a source, transit and destination country for people subjected to human trafficking, with children targeted for forced labour in agriculture, animal herding and domestic services, while girls are forced into sexual exploitation.

The Salvation Army’s Mchiniji Centre in Malawi is working to rescue children from human trafficking by providing a safe home, food and an education.

Geoff believed that Jesus will ultimately overcome evil and be recognized as earth’s true sovereign. He put his life on the line as a soldier in that battle. We’re talking about him now because his life stands as a testimony that Jesus is the best ruler the world could ever have, and his faith that King Jesus will ultimately set everything right.

Jesus entered that battle with us. He made a way, through death. He reigns. Even now. Even when it hurts so much.

 

Update: The Salvation Army has issued a Tribute to Major Geoffrey Freind (1957-2016).

Author: Allen Browne

Seeking to understand Jesus in the terms he chose to describe himself: son of man (his identity), and kingdom of God (his mission). Discipleship Trainer • Riverview Church

3 thoughts on “How can you say God reigns?”

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