My Kingdom of Misery
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son . . . Matthew 22:2
Jesus talked a lot about the Kingdom of Heaven. What did he mean? I can best understand the answer only in taking an honest look at my own life.
My greatest life problem is that daily, I have a natural desire to follow me above all. Whether I say it out loud or not, in my mind, I’m the king. The maddening thing is that I know where this gets me. In the most obvious manifestation of doing life my way – my drug addiction – I found despair, paranoia, anxiety, insomnia, and self-hatred. Going my way nearly caused me to lose my faith, family, and career. As king, I built nothing but a kingdom of misery.
So, what did Jesus mean then, when he spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of God? There was a time when I just assumed that he was talking about heaven, which was always a little elusive for my understanding. Jesus though, was speaking of a reality that was much more immanent and tangible than the afterlife.
In today’s passage, Jesus told a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to a king (God) who gave a wedding feast for his son (Christ) and invited everyone (us) to partake of everything good he had to offer. This wasn’t some far-off promise. His guests were meant to come and eat here and now. Some came, but most simply refused the invitation.
In Luke 17:21, Jesus taught that, The kingdom of God is within you (KJV). Jesus insisted that daily, we must choose to live, not in a kingdom of following ourselves, but that we must choose to live in the kingdom of heaven, recognizing God as king above all. In doing so, we experience the kingdom of God here and now, within us.
What does this mean for my life? Does it mean that all my trials are removed? No, it means that even in the midst of the trials, instead of knowing only despair, anxiety, and self-hatred, I can experience true love, joy, and peace. Daily, this is a choice I must make. I can follow me into a kingdom of misery, or I can choose to abandon me, living in the kingdom of Heaven, embracing faith, life, joy, peace, and recovery.