Today is a day of waiting, for me. Granted, it’s not as serious a form of waiting as, say, loved ones waiting for the results of surgery. And it’s not as exciting a form of waiting as, say, anxious grandparents waiting to hear of the birth of their first grandchild. No, this waiting is much more (if you’ll pardon the expression) peripheral.
Today, I’m waiting for the Bell technician to come to the church to install a new Internet connection.
I was told that the technician would arrive sometime between 8:00 a.m. and, well, next Thursday. (Not really. He’s supposed to arrive before 5:00 today.) And it’s not like I don’t have plenty to keep me busy around the church. But when you are waiting for someone to arrive, and you don’t know when it will occur, there is a certain impatience, a certain anxiety, that goes with that waiting.
God’s people have been in just that sort of waiting mode since the ascension of Jesus. Time and again, the Lord Jesus told us that he would return to earth to consummate time as we know it and to receive his faithful, dead and living, to himself.
When we look at world events, it’s tempting to expect that Jesus is coming back soon. Of course, he said as much, revealed to John, in the penultimate verse in the Bible: “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22.20, NIV). So if he has been coming “soon” since the end of the first century, when Revelation was penned, how long is “soon”? Of course, Peter reminds us that for God, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day (2 Peter 3.8), so if that tells us anything, it’s that making predictions is a dangerous thing to do. Even Jesus himself said that only the Father knows when that time will come (Mark 13.32).
At least with the Bell technician, I have a day, and a window in which to expect his arrival. In the meantime, I carry on my normal activities – but confined to the church building for the day.
As we await the return of the Lord Jesus, we ought likewise to carry on our normal activities – not confined to a building, but confined to the world in which we live, constrained by the will of God to wait with patience and endurance for our safe redemption, whatever that may look like.
Waiting can be hard. But, as the apostle Paul reminds us, the fruit of the Spirit is patience (Galatians 5.22). It’s good to wait expectantly for the Lord, because eternity in his presence is going to be amazing. But it’s also good to wait patiently, because “No one knows about that day or hour” (Mark 13.32, NIV).
There will be no sure sign of the Bell technician’s arrival until I see that familiar blue and white van. Likewise, there will be no sure sign of Jesus’ return until we see him face to face. There are those who will claim to be him, but if I understand Scripture correctly, there will be no mistaking his return. You won’t have to wait for Jesus to introduce himself, or to read about it in the newspaper.
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3.2, NIV).
Want a little inspiration for your day? Listen to Sandi Patty sing what it will be like to meet the Lord.
That’ll be worth the wait. Blessings for your weekend!