Lenten Devo 8: Thy Kingdom Come

**John and I were tasked with writing some devotionals alongside Ruth for the Lenten season. Our theme for these 40 days is The Lord’s Prayer. This is one of John’s and is about the phrase “Thy kingdom come”. It fell on Day 17 of this series.**

Reading: Mark 1:15

What is the kingdom of God? When Jesus wanted to tell people what the kingdom of God was he told them stories.  Stories that gave a window illustration into what the kingdom of God actually was.  I recently read an article about addiction, and it made me wonder if maybe this could have been a parable that Jesus would have used.

There is a simple experiment that is designed to determine which drugs are the most chemically addictive. The experiment goes like this: Put a rat in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One is just water. The other is water laced with heroin or cocaine. Nearly every time the experiment is run, the rat will become obsessed with the drugged water, and keep coming back for more and more, until it kills itself.

This seems to be pretty conclusive; however on a second take of the experiment we notice that the rat is put in the cage all alone. It has nothing to do but take the drugs. A professor from Vancouver named Bruce Alexander noticed the same thing, so Professor Alexander built “Rat Park”. It is a lush cage where the rats would have colored toys, the best rat food, tunnels to scamper through, and plenty of friends: everything a rat could want. What, Alexander wanted to know, would happen then?

In Rat Park, all the rats obviously tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. But what happened next was startling.

The rats with good lives didn’t like the drugged water. They mostly shunned it, consuming less than a quarter of the drugs the isolated rats used. None of them died. While all the rats who were alone and unhappy became heavy users, none of the rats who had a happy environment became addicted.

If I may be so bold, the Kingdom of heaven is like “Rat Park”.  No one is lonely, and people live in loving Christ-like community.  This community is more attractive than the strongest of drugs because this is God’s kingdom.

How can we be about God’s kingdom this week? What can we do to reach out to the lonely and hurting?

Today, please join me in praying for someone in your life that needs God.

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