Are You Waiting for Jesus’ Return?
By Skip Heitzig, crosswalk.org
A little boy once prayed, “Lord, somewhere in Your Bible it says that a thousand years is like a day to You. And it also says that You own the cattle on a thousand hills, which means a million billion dollars is like one dollar to You.” Then he prayed, “Lord, could I just have one dime?” And the Lord spoke to him and said, “Sure, just a minute.”
Here’s the great hope of the church: Jesus Christ is coming back. We’re expecting, anticipating, and looking for that event to happen, for Him to come and fix all the injustices of this world. But 2,000 years later we’re still waiting and asking, “Why the delay?”
The apostle Peter wrote, “Beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8). That’s simply to say that what seems to us like a long time is really a short time to God. God counts things differently.
And this is the reason for His delay: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (v. 9). He wants to see as many people saved as possible. I’m glad He’s waited 2,000 years, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been around to enjoy His salvation.
But you need to know that God is punctual. “The day of the Lord will come” (v. 10). He hasn’t come yet, but He will. Scoffers may scoff, doubters may doubt, and unbelievers may ignore, but Jesus Christ is coming again.
Notice the word longsuffering in verse 9.It means large, great anger. And what it means in reference to God is that He has an amazing capacity to wait and store up well-deserved anger until He finally spills it out in judgment. One day He will act, but until then He’s longsuffering.
I pray that in the meantime the Lord would help you trust in Him, depend on Him, and lean hard on the strong arms of Jesus, knowing without a doubt that He is coming back
Jesus’ Second Coming
You don’t hear so much talk about heaven anymore or about when Jesus will return in glory. Too many believers nowadays forget how much the Bible has to say about the end of this present life.
In the past Christians took great comfort from the Lord’s promise that he would return in glory. We can still find such comfort in this belief today. Billy Graham summarized it well: “Our world is filled with fear, hate, lust, greed, war, and utter despair. Surely the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is the only hope of replacing these depressing features with trust, love, universal peace, and prosperity.”
“I, the Son of Man, will come in the glory of my Father with his angels and will judge all people according to their deeds.” Matthew 16:27
“If a person is ashamed of me and my message, I, the Son of Man, will be ashamed of that person when I return in my glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.” Luke 9:26
“No one knows the day or the hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So be prepared, because you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:36-42
In the Gospels, Jesus promises his return but names no specific time. The promise is intended to give people hope, but Jesus makes it clear that it should do more than that. It should cause us to live in such a way that constantly reflects our readiness to meet our Lord.
“The coming of the Son of Man can be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip. He gave each of his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. So keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when the homeowner will return — at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak. Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning.” Mark 13:34-36
“Watch out! Don’t let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep a constant watch. And pray that, if possible, you may escape these horrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36
I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
You know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “All is well; everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman’s birth pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
The Bible ends, appropriately, with both a prayer and a promise: Jesus is coming.
“See, I am coming soon, and my reward is with me, to repay all according to their deeds.” He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12, 20.
Streams in the Desert – July 19
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? (John 18:11)
This was a greater thing to say and do than to calm the seas or raise the dead. Prophets and apostles could work wondrous miracles, but they could not always do and suffer the will of God. To do and suffer God’s will is still the highest form of faith, the most sublime Christian achievement.
To have the bright aspirations of a young life forever blasted; to bear a daily burden never congenial and to see no relief; to be pinched by poverty when you only desire a competency for the good and comfort of loved ones; to be fettered by some incurable physical disability; to be stripped bare of loved ones until you stand alone to meet the shocks of life–to be able to say in such a school of discipline, “The cup which my Father has given me, shall I not drink it?’–this is faith at its highest and spiritual success at the crowning point.
Great faith is exhibited not so much in ability to do as to suffer.
–Dr. Charles Parkhurst
To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him. We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succoring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.
The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.
The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.
Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.
The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.