It will soon be the beginning of a new year. A year that will bring rejoicing and grief, laughter and tears, good times and bad. Will it also mark the year that Christ will return? No one can know, because Jesus tells us that no one knows the day or the hour when He will return: "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming." (Matt 25:13 NKJV). But what if 2010 is to be the year of our Lord's return? Would you be excited? Ecstatic? Jubilant? Or would you be afraid? Saddened? Disappointed?
When my children and I pray the Lord's prayer,
we try not to just repeat memorized lines, but we try to really pray the
meaning of this beautiful prayer. It's really a rewarding experience
that should be tried by every serious Christian!
And this is what we were doing this morning, when we came to the line, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done". As we each took a moment to meditate upon this line, it occurred to me that many Christians don't really look forward to the Lord's coming.
Now maybe that's a harsh statement. Of course we ALL look forward to Jesus' second coming.
But if we do, I mean, if we TRULY do, then why are so many Christians afraid of death? Why are so many Christians afraid of the great tribulation? Why do so many of us say, "Even so, come Lord Jesus-After I've done _____" (you can fill in the blank!) If we truly look forward to Jesus' coming, shouldn't we be counting the days with great anticipation? What's wrong with us? Why aren't we really looking for Jesus to come? Do we lack faith? Are we too comfortable? Are we simply too-complacent?
At the time you receive this devotional, I will be away on a special 2 week trip. We celebrated our 25th anniversary this year, and this trip is to be a second honeymoon-the dream honeymoon we weren't able to take when we first got married. It will really be the trip of a lifetime.
Or so I'm told.
The only problem is, as of the time I am writing this devotional, I do not know where we are going! My husband refuses to tell me!
Should I be worried about the fact that he hasn't told me where we are going?
Maybe, but I'm not.
Because I trust my husband. He knows me well enough to plan a trip that will be very special-not only to him, but to me as well.
Oh, he's let drop a few hints. I know it is a country where English is spoken as a second language. It's also a place that is several time zones away. It is a place that hosts mountains, beaches, and just about everything in between. Oh, and there is a large native population in this place. Sounds exciting, doesn't it? But really, these clues don't tell me much. There are many non-English speaking countries that host mountains, beaches and native cultures, that are several time zones away.
There are a few other facts that I have been able to glean as well. I understand that the trip to this mysterious place will not be fun and games. The flight will be in two stages, and the first stage will involve a flight from Toronto to Vancouver. I also know that this five hour leg of the flight is likely the shorter of the two.
Having flown to Europe just this past summer, I remember how cramped up my legs begin to feel after being in an airplane for more than a few hours. I also remember how unpleasant it is to rush through airports with heavy luggage, and how stressful it can be to find a taxi to take you to your hotel.
Hum. Maybe I should be worried about these things. Maybe these "negatives" outweigh the positives!
But no. I've traveled enough to know that the slight discomfort you undergo on an airplane is nothing compared to the rich experiences you will be a part of once you arrive at your destination. In fact, the fun you have once you get there far out ways the tiny bit of discomfort caused by the travel stage.
As I think about this trip right now, I realize that it is very much like Jesus' second coming. We're not told when it will be. We're not even given a clear picture of what, exactly, is going to happen. We're just given little "snippets" of information.
Should we be worried about this?
No more than I need to worry whether or not my 25th anniversary trip will be special! If I can trust my husband of 25 years to plan a special trip for me, even more so can I trust my Heavenly daddy, who saw my unformed body, who ordained my days before I was ever conceived (Ps. 139: 16), to make what comes after the life we know on Earth to be so special that we wouldn't ever even want to turn back.
And what about the tribulation? Or for those who die in Christ before Jesus comes back, what about death?
Remember my plane ride? I'm not particularly looking forward to it, but I know that it is necessary in order to begin the special trip my husband has planned. Would I want to forego the trip so that I wouldn't have to do the travel part? Never. I know that the time we spend, wherever it is we're going, will be so special that the travel unpleasantries will be well worthwhile.
It is no different with the end of life as we know it. Death or the tribulation are but the "travel" stage, the necessary steps to arriving at the beautiful life for eternity that God has planned for us when He comes again. They may be tough to get through, but we don't need to fear them, because they are but a means to a very beautiful end!
I am looking forward to my Christmas trip with a great sense of anticipation.
In the same way, each and every one of us can look forward to the end of time with a sense of great anticipation!
So the next time you pray, "Thy Kingdom come…" remember my Christmas trip, and think of the end of time with a sense of great anticipation!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, www.scripturalnuggets.org , with Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org .