Every time I look at the news, I long for it. An end to the craziness of this world. The peace that Christ has promised will come. I pray for it regularly. I write about it often. I don’t doubt it’s going to to come. But it gets hard to wait sometimes.
I think that’s why I write and pray about it so often—this longing for the new creation—because I know how frustrating it feels to have to keep waiting while it seems like either nothing is changing (at best) or things are getting far worse. I think this explains the popularity of the utopian vision that we see in pop culture. We create visions of humanity united in peace and working together to better humanity. But as much as I love Star Trek, I suspect it’s not going to happen any time soon.
As much as I would love for there to be a true and lasting peace among all people right now, I know it won’t be brought about by human beings. (We’re too busy retelling the story of Judges, after all.) As long as sin still remains in this world, our longings will never be quite satisfied. No matter how much we might want to think otherwise, JC Ryle was right when he wrote, “We are not to expect a reign of universal peace, happiness, and prosperity, before the end comes. If we do, we shall be greatly deceived.”
Even within the church, we will not see perfect agreement on most any doctrine, never mind a mass conversion to Christianity. At least, not before the end comes. As tempting as it can be to forget, we must remember, for as Ryle wrote, “They are eminently truths for the present times.” He continued:
Let us learn to be moderate in our expectations from any existing machinery in the Church of Christ, and we shall be spared much disappointment. Let us make haste to spread the Gospel in the world, for the time is short, not long. The night comes when no man can work. Troublous times are ahead. Heresies and persecutions may soon weaken and distract the churches. A fierce war of principles may soon convulse the nations. The doors now open to do good may soon be shut forever. Our eyes may yet see the sun of Christianity go down like the sun of Judaism, in clouds and storms. Above all, let us long for our Lord’s return. Oh! for a heart to pray daily, “Come, Lord Jesus!”1
Though we don’t see the peace we long for (yet), don’t let it discourage you. There may be no peace until the Prince of Peace arrives, but God has not quit. His plans confounded. So keep longing, and keep praying. Though he is not hear yet, he is coming. And when he does, there will finally and truly be peace on all the earth. The Prince of Peace brings peace with him. And he is coming soon.