By Gala Castaños, Outreach Worker in Kingston-Galloway
If you ever stop by Kingston-Galloway one day, you will find that one of the sacred and most precious activities the kids love doing is building their own forts. As they enter the church building, they run straight towards their secret hideaway; taking the uttermost care to protect it from strangers. They feel warm, they feel safe and secure; even though the frame is made of 30 year old tables which threaten to collapse; and the walls are of an old thin and billowy blanket that is in desperate need of washing and patching. It is their palace-that they have made and rule over as their own "king". A certain pride is taken in their makeshift kingdom. But that is what they don't realize: it is just exactly that. A makeshift Kingdom. It's always a tragic moment when the fort eventually collapses and they come out in tears over its temporary perfection.
This illustration echoes deeply into my own heart as I reflect on how similar I am to these kids and the false kingdoms that I can build in my own life. So many times I have struggled to build my own kingdom, with my own rules. No one can tell me what to do; and that feels good. It is a false kingdom where I am in control of everything and anything that threatens this power overwhelms me with anxiety. The constant need of having to fight for control triggers the cloud of fear and the seed of bitterness to take root against anyone and anything that is against me. But this is a false Kingdom- a makeshift Kingdom where Jesus is clearly not the true King. I have replaced Him with myself and have replaced all the blessing that being subject to a gracious, loving and powerful King has to offer. By building my own Kingdom, I have essentially stripped the True and Righteous King of His glory and have pompously elevated my broken and sinful self over all.
Even after all this - the True King is merciful. Even when I was busy making my own makeshift Kingdom - He was still loving and gracious enough to forgive me of my deepest faults and brought me closer to Him through withholding his wrath upon me and instead chose to pour that same wrath on his own Son at Calvary. As I was busy making my own makeshift Kingdom- the True King was offering me forgiveness, hope and breaking down the broken walls of my false Kingdom , so that I could enter in the gates of His everlasting one.