Today I want to tell you about the Land of Not Yet—a beautiful and dangerous place, a place with innumerable pitfalls and opportunities. Not Yet is full of every imaginable landscape, plant, animal and person.
Sometimes Not Yet appears to be a land of black and white. People there can choose to be kind or to be cruel, good or evil, humble or proud, and it sometimes seems as though unscrupulous people prosper the most. In Not Yet, if someone asks her neighbor how she is doing, her neighbor may feel compelled to respond, OK, with a polite smile, hiding her private burdens. Not Yet isn’t so black and white after all.
Everyone there understands that good and bad befalls each in his or her turn, and some receive more than their fair share of either. Or both. In Not Yet, a misperception exists that if misfortune befalls you, it might be your fault for not playing by the rules or not being good enough. If misfortune occurs, people might secretly breathe a sigh of relief that the same misfortune did not befall her. Everyone prospers and perishes, sometimes with very much undeserved notice and sometimes with no notice that otherwise might be very well-deserved indeed.
The Land of Not Yet is full of the lost, the weary, the sick, the poor, the hungry, and the confused. The lonely, the burdened, the unsure. Not Yet is the land of the unfinished, the partial, the limited, the impermanent, the unfair. The unfulfilled hope, the dashed dream. Still, many people there live with great happiness—happiness despite trouble, happiness in ignorance, and happiness because of wisdom.
Not Yet might just as well be this world, and in my mind it is. We all live in the Land of Not Yet. Life in any form, strait, or circumstance is filled with innumerable blessings. Still, all things have not yet been fulfilled to us. Living in Not Yet can be painful, a walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Not Yet Married. Not Yet Reunited with a Loved One. Not Yet Healed. Not Yet Fitting In.
In Not Yet is another place, a place that is not necessarily geographical. A place that exists amid the trials. A place that offers respite, revelation, and restoration. A place that brings answers and even more powerfully, questions. This is a place many know: the Kingdom of God.
This place can be within a single heart or body: “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation. Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).
This place can be a friendship: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
This place can be a companionship: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, … where two or three are gathered together in my name, … behold, there will I be in the midst of them—even so am I in the midst of you” (D&C 6:32).”
No matter the location, there is only one Ruler of this kingdom. Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. Being of the Kingdom of God does not mean that Not Yet has no influence over our lives. It can be even more confusing when all the right gospel behaviors and actions do not add up to offer permanent relief from a relentless dark night. Solutions can unfold over years and come from multiple sources. Miracles can happen in a blink or require tireless work to accomplish. Blessings are free gifts that come, however much we think we have earned them, truly regardless of merit. A well-deserved and well-earned blessing may come easily to some and not so easily to others, and that is no judgment on the person receiving it.
Christ gives us the courage to live in Not Yet. Christ gives us the medicine, both physical and spiritual, that we need. At any moment. I know that the second I turn to him in my mind and heart, I feel peace. I know that even though I am Not Yet healed that Christ could touch me this instant and I would be made whole. I know that our experiences are purposeful and that pain is one of our greatest teachers. Pain will never be our Master.
For you who live in the present pain of Not Yet, take heart. You are on a hero’s journey to learn the way of our True Hero, Jesus Christ. He is your advocate every day. Your angels surround you. Your worth is without price. Whatever your wrestle, no matter how deep, you will come out stronger. You will gain the knowledge you need to do your work on this earth and you will learn how better to help others in similar situations. You will increase in empathy and humility. You will return to Heavenly Father a coal-turned-diamond, a soul burnished bright.