As Christians, we are the people of the long defeat. And, though that might sound negative, it is actually a container of deep hope and joy.
What does this mean? Well, this article explains it well. If our hearts are rooted in any system or institution of the world, whether that be politics, entertainment, causes or anything else that has a temporal foundation, we will either be crushed and disappointed or, more scarily, we will be successful and make a hell building utopia in our own image.
For Christians, we are the harbingers of the new Kingdom, we are salt and light where we are placed, playing our part in ushering in that Kingdom. But, it is His Kingdom built in His image, and ours by the inheritance as His children. In realising that, we can avoid the error of those who would make themselves gods.
For those who do not fall under the spell of these empty promises, who do not place their hope in the realization of a future utopia, a political or cultural defeat does not create an existential crisis. And indeed, for a certain kind, it’s to be expected. This viewpoint assumes, quite reasonably, that a fundamentally fallen world will not be brought to perfection by a fundamentally fallen humanity. Instead, humanity should expect a series of failures.
This is the long defeat, the understanding that
we will never be able to overcome fallen human nature by any program, system, or force, because those structures themselves will be corrupted by the presence of the fallen human beings at the helm.
This is neither defeatism, nor resignation. It is wisdom. Within this long defeat is contained the seeds of final victory. It is understanding that the Church must follow her Lord, and also walk the Golgotha path to Good Friday, which is the only path to Easter Sunday.
It is understanding that the power of the Holy people must one day be completely broken, and the Kingdoms of the world stand in apparent victory.
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand towards heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives for ever, saying, ‘It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.’Daniel 12 v7
Then will come the new heavens and earth, and then will come the final victory of the Lamb, the one who was slain.
‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,Revelation 5 v12
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honour and glory and praise