Disclaimer: This picture has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the post.
In the olden days, probably when I was in my late twenties, trying to balance three small toddlers and an 11.5% mortgage, I used to reflect upon how I would like to be the Queen of the United States of America when I grew up.
I wanted to be Queen, not president, because I wanted to rule, not arbitrate. I didn't want any houses of congress messing with my plans, no balancing branches of government for me. It was monarchy all the way, benevolent dictatorship. I wanted to say how it went and watch it go.
As time passed, my kids had a teacher at school, Mrs. Baker. They'd come home and talk about how Mrs. Baker gave kids The Look which shriveled them to ashes at their desks. Mrs. Baker could reduce a classroom of audacious preteens to stunned silence, merely by crooking an eyebrow.
For the aspiring Queen of the USA (QUSA, for short), this sounded like a noble skill to acquire. I practiced at dinner. When the green beans began to fly, I stretched my neck upwards while widening the tops of my eyes, squinching the outer corners ferociously, pressing my lips together and insufflating a chestful of air through my nose.
Without fail, this resulted in my children hooting with laughter until their eyes ran with tears and they fell from their chairs onto the kitchen floor, still pointing at me with outstretched arms and crying, "Look at her! She is trying to give us The Look! Don't ever do that when you are teaching Sunday school, Mom!"
My dreams were dashed as the truth dawned on me: I could not even dictate the rules of my own household to my young, impressionable children. I was a failure as a mom. I could never have been a dad... how much less a president or a queen.
Since those days, I have put my hope in the future return of Christ, and His benevolent dictatorship. There is no earthly leader who will ever get it right, and although I thought I wanted a chance to try my hand at administrating the affairs of the world (QUSA would have a lot of influence over other countries as well as her own), I realized it was too much. I can't even keep my own kids safe and healthy all the time, or maybe ever. I certainly don't want responsibility for all of humanity. Only God can handle that. It boggles my mind when I think about it: He actually has the resources, the power and the wisdom to rule the world, and to do it perfectly right. And someday, He's coming back to take control.
My daughter Shannon says there is sometimes a point in an argument when you suddenly realize that you are wrong, and when this happens, it is one of the most horrible and devastating feelings that you ever experience. I've been studying Jesus' second coming lately, and the Bible says that there is a point when the identity of Christ will be revealed to the world in all His full glory, and the nations will see Him, recognize Him, and mourn.
Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:30 ESV
Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
Revelation 1:7 ESV
The reality of it is:
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:9-11 ESV
Do you see that? It says every knee will bow, and every tongue confess. This isn't just about God's followers seeing and rejoicing at His coming. This is also about how all those who rejected Jesus will have the blindfolds peeled off their faces, and they will shudder with that devastating pang of knowledge: "Oh no. I was wrong. I am wrong. I am doomed." And they will fall to their knees, not because they want to, but because they have come smack face-to-face with the reality that He is God whether or not they like it.
He's coming back. Nobody knows when, but for those who are watching, there will be signs.
This is the oddest piece of writing. I was sitting in "Shannon's room," which has her bed, and she actually has traveled here and used it a couple of times. It was afternoon, dinner in the crockpot, Schubert barking out the front window. I was trying to touch base with a few people by text messaging, sitting on the floor next to Piper. Something about the slant of the light from the window, the smell of the air (thin and cool), maybe the sound of a large vehicle rumbling along the road outside... I had a sudden impression that the school day was over, and Jonno would be walking in the door for his after-school snack at any minute.
And then I remembered that such was not the case. It was like waking up from a fantastic dream and remembering, "I am only Ruth, not the Queen of the World."
My kids are gone. My kitchen is... undone (we're on Day 55). I have lupus and it's flaring some.
God is sovereign. Nothing is too difficult for Him. Someday He's coming back to get me, to restore my body and my soul, and to keep me in His presence, in perfection, forever.