“One of the orphanage kids committed suicide,” my husband told me after breakfast this morning.
“Succeeded? Or attempted?” I responded, taken aback by the news.
“He's dead,” my husband responded soberly.
There's an emptiness in the pit of my stomach. I didn't know the kid, an older teen embarking upon adulthood. When I looked at his photo, there was only a very vague sense of familiarity. And yet the cold emptiness hangs in my innermost being. He lived there – in those rooms where the hope of the Gospel was shared over and over again. He must've lingered just beyond the fringes of all those outreaches and events where love and hope was shown in tangible ways.
Indeed the Kingdom of God was oh so “near” to him(Matt 10:7), practically “in his midst.”(Luke 17:21). And yet, in his tragically short life, God's Kingdom of Love and Hope did not come. Clearly God's will was not done.
So what do we do with that?
We could sit around and beat ourselves up with all the questions of “Why?”
Why did I not notice him?
Why did I not do more?
Followed quickly by all the “If onlys.”
If only I had known his suffering …
If only I had reached out further …
But there's a fundamental problem with this approach. Notice all the "I"s? It's all incredibly ME centered, suggesting that I am the center of God's universe and His workings somehow are limited to my frail abilities. It's really rather egotistical. And it serves only the purposes of the Evil One.
Instead we must turn our hearts and minds toward God and God alone, throw ourselves to our knees and pour out our heart praying “Thy Kingdom Come!” For there are many more lives that still hang in the balance at the Miskolc orphanage and all around us every moment everyday.
“Thy Kingdom Come” What does it really mean? Are we fantasizing about pie-in-the-sky-by-and-by when we die?
No, I would argue that when we pray this we are praying for something living and dynamic in the here and now. For indeed, as Jesus said to the Pharisees in Luke 17 “the Kingdom of God is in your midst.”
But this kingdom is not found in manipulative schemes designed to get weak minds to pray “the sinners prayer.”
Neither is it found in the spiritual bullying tactics employed by some evangelistic campaigns.
It is rooted in Christ and Christ alone. And if we really want His Kingdom to come, we must start by rooting ourselves in Him. After all He is the King, right? And if He is our King, we need to start treating him like our Sovereign, placing all our faith and confidence in Him, not in our abilities to make things happen for Him. His kingdom comes in and through us not when we do things for Him, but rather when we are rooted in Him and keep Him on the throne of our lives. When we maintain that relationship, His kingdom flows from our lives to others. It is always humbling to learn one's most significant moments of ministry were when we were not even trying to minister at all. We were just being who we were created to be and abiding in Him.
So where is the Kingdom? Indeed, it is in our midst, when we fully surrender to Him. It is in the fellowship of the saints. And when true worship occurs within that fellowship, we experience Kingdom moments, glimpses into the Kingdom of God. In these places, we find strength and comfort even at a time like this when the loss is so fresh, tragic and unnecessary.
So what does this mean for an orphan boy who had lost all hope?
My heart grieves when I think of it. But I like to believe that maybe somewhere in those desperate last breaths, when the series of tragedies that made up his life may have flashed before his eyes, Christ may have somehow made himself known to this young man, this hurting child. I like to believe that might be possible because I know it is consistent with Christ's nature to love "the least of these" and through that love expand His Kingdom.