The Recovery We Don’t Want
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Revelation 11:15
As a kid growing up in church, our Sunday school music leader once told us that in heaven we would sing songs of worship all day long. She meant it to sound like a good thing. I didn’t see it that way. I didn’t enjoy the five minutes of singing we did in Sunday school, and I certainly didn’t want to do it forever. If that was heaven, I was going to be disappointed.
I think a lot of us might be tempted to feel this way. In today’s passage, we’re told how the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Earth will one day merge so that Jesus will rule over all. God’s kingdom means new life and no more evil. That though, necessarily means that the evil in our lives will be eradicated. For the new life to come, the old one must go. What would that mean for us practically? How would our lives be different and what things would be cut out? Would we miss them? No more gossip, lust, pornography, greed, selfishness, gluttony, or pride. What TV shows would be gone? We would no longer live for ourselves, but rather, we’ll all be selfless, sharing what we have with one another. No more me, I, and mine. God’s kingdom is all about love for God and neighbor. We want the kingdom of God in theory, but I’m afraid that the reality of it might threaten some parts of the old life to which we still cling.
I’ve been there. When initially seeking recovery, I desperately wanted the chaos and misery of the old life to be gone. I wanted recovery in theory. I also wanted to retain the right to use occasionally though. I want the pain and shame to be gone, but I still want to be able to get high every once in a while. I desired recovery, but I was unwilling to make the sacrifice it took to get there. Even now, eight years into recovery, I still have the occasional thought that it may be nice to have a beer with my friends. Nope. That’s not an option if I want to remain in recovery. That’s the deal.
Here’s the thing though. Any minuscule sacrifice that I feel I have made has been repaid tenfold in joy and peace. I once thought that recovery meant giving up the good life, but it only meant giving up the misery so that I could experience authentic life, joy, and peace. That’s the kingdom of God, and it’s more than a fair trade.