One evening my wife and I were enjoying a quiet conversation together. We were sipping some fresh-perked coffee, the house was unusually still, and there were no plans to go anywhere that evening. You know, one of those priceless moments you wish you could wrap up and reserve for later use when it's really needed again.
For some strange reason our discussion turned to the subject of Christ's return. Almost out of the blue, I found myself tracking that thought further than I had for months. Cynthia and I chuckled at some comments each one made about letting the folks in the tribulation worry about the hassles that we have to handle now—like cleaning out our garage or landscaping the backyard! We also smiled together, contemplating the joys that will be ours to share our lives throughout eternity with family and friends in the Body of Christ.
As the evening slipped away, I kept returning to the thought, "He is coming back. What a difference it will make!" It is remarkable, when you stop and get specific about it, how many things we take for granted will suddenly be removed or changed drastically. Think about that.
Is it a waste to focus on the Lord's descent? Quite the contrary. It's biblical; it's the very thing Titus 2:13 says we ought to do:
Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. (NASB)
When's the last time you—on your own—meditated on that fact? If you're like me, it's been too long. People who are more practical than mystical, who are realistic rather than idealistic, tend to shove that stuff to times like funerals or near-death experiences. Most of us are more oriented to the here-and-now than the then-and-there. But Scripture says we are to "comfort one another" (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) with information about Jesus' return for us. It says these truths form the very foundation of a "steadfast, immovable, always abounding" lifestyle (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).
Listen, this Bible of ours is full and running over with promises and encouragements directly related to the return of our Lord Christ. I just checked. The Second Coming isn't just hinted at, it's highlighted—it's an obvious theme of New Testament truth. You can't read very far without stumbling upon it no matter which book you choose. In the New Testament alone the events related to Christ's coming are mentioned over three hundred times. It's like white on rice.
Critics have denied it. Cynics have laughed at it. Scholars have ignored it. Liberal theologians have explained it away (they call that "rethinking" it), and fanatics have perverted it. "Where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Peter 3:4) many still shout sarcastically. The return of the Saviour will continue to be attacked and misused and denied. But there it stands, solid as a stone, soon to be fulfilled, ready to offer us hope and encouragement amidst despair and unbelief.
"OK, swell. But what do I do in the meantime?" I can hear a dozen or more pragmatists asking that question. First, it might be best for you to understand what you don't do. You don't whip up a white robe and buy a helium-filled balloon with angels painted all over it. And, if you're a Californian, you don't quit work and move to Oregon for fear you'll miss Him because of the smog. And for goodness' sake, don't try to set the date because of the "signs of the times!"
You do get your act together. You do live every day (as if it's your last) for His glory. You do work diligently on your job and in your home (as if He isn't coming for another 10 years) for His Name's sake. You do shake salt out every chance you get...and do shine the light...and remain balanced, cheerful, winsome, and stable, anticipating His return day by day. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you.
Except, maybe, if you're not absolutely ready to fly, get your ticket fast. As long as they are available, they're free. But don't wait. About the time you finally make up your mind, the whole thing could have happened, leaving you looking back instead of up.
What good is a ticket if the event is over?
Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.