The government shutdown is pretty much all you hear about on the news these days. Since getting an Amazon Echo for Christmas, each day I ask Alexa for my “flash briefing.” Today Alexa played a flash briefing from a popular American news source and, I kid you not, 4 out of the 5 minutes was dedicated to discussing the shutdown.
The shutdown did make history today, so I guess I understand it, but it feels like it’s encroaching on mania. (Of course, that’s easy for me to say because I’m pretty apolitical I’m not on furlough.) As per standard American politics, one half of the population is putting all the blame on the other half (this is of course the recipe for successful compromise).
Times like this reinforce my thankfulness as a Christian. I’m not thankful for the apparent political turmoil or the division or the arguments, but I’m thankful that my ultimate hope isn’t contingent on any government of man.
The truth is, eventually, the government shutdown will be for good. Now, I’m not talking about some kind of uprising. It’s just a simple fact. Not even the American government is eternal. It’s a product of man and not God. Only the reign of God is eternal.
This is, in part, an implication of an ancient prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ. While with God’s people in exile, the prophet Daniel saw something forthcoming. He was able to interpret a dream of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The dream essentially described the geopolitical scene of the next 500+ years from the time of Daniel. After the Babylonians would come the Medo-Persians, then the Greeks, then the Romans.
Then it was foreseen that in the days of the Roman Empire, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever” (Dan. 2:44 ESV). During the reign of Rome, Jesus established a kingdom that is “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36). Christians are citizens of this heavenly kingdom (Phil. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:9). God’s kingdom isn’t a government like we might think of it, but is is a manifestiation of His soverignty and reign.
That’s why the government shutdown makes me thankful (in a roundabout way). It just magnifies the awesomeness of Jesus’ kingdom and my ultimate citizenship. In Jesus’ kingdom, there is no bickering or blaming or infighting. There are no logjams or crises, and there is no physical warfare. There’s peace, eternal safety, and the guarantee of forever. Oh, and everyone is invited to be a part of it.
Thank God who, through His Son, “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13).