Sunday, May 8, 2016

Living for His Immediate Return

In the months after Micah died, Heather and I felt ready for Jesus’ immediate return. We wanted nothing more to be Home, in Heaven, with Jesus and Micah. But as the years pass, so have the concerns of life cluttered this perspective. Jobs, career, financial and family concerns have competed in our affections for what had previously been an unopposed desire to be in Jesus’ immediate presence. In concluding the book of Revelation, Jesus tells us to be ready at any moment for his return. “And behold, I am coming soon.” Revelations 22:7. Seeing as this was written some 2,000 years ago, I used to feel (as no doubt a skeptic would) as though God has owed millions of His followers an apology. How can He be trusted if we told he is coming back "soon," and now we must wait so long? How can this return be "immediate?" In fact, I have come to believe so strongly that it is no mistake to live one’s life as if Jesus’ return is not just within our lifetime, but within the very week, the very day, the very hour. As humans, we must have affections that stir us to action. We cannot stay in neutral when it comes to living in affection. Nor can we put certain affections “on hold,” and then return to those affections at some later date. Our immediate affections will, in the absence of some extraneous force, become our long-term affections. We cannot tell ourselves that we will follow Jesus only after we complete our degree, or settle down into a career, or have children. God knows that one’s future character is intricately linked to our current one, and that our current character will dictate what type of person we will become. If emulating Christ is indeed what is best for us, and ultimately is what is most satisfying, then God’s encouragement to live as if He is returning tomorrow is indeed most loving. In the perspective of God’s history, not our current earthly timeline, a 1,000 years is like a day. In the perspective of all eternity, our lifetimes will be the duration of a vapor; indeed, the 2,000 years will be a small fraction of all human history. If God truly loves us, why would he not encourage us to avoid the frivolities of current American life, and focus on that which will be of value in eternity? I pray that Heather and I can return to this same perspective, looking in eager anticipation for turning the page on the end of this short, brief temporal existence into an eternity filled with the worship of our Lord Jesus.