“The Lord’s Return”: I’m not exactly sure what kind of feeling the phrase generated in me before the College Retreat last weekend. I guess “indifference” would probably describe it pretty closely: I knew the Lord’s second coming as a fact, but I also knew that there are a few signs yet to be fulfilled before He comes, so I was basically very 不冷不热 (lukewarm). Praise the Lord, by His mercy, the speaking last weekend really overturned me. “The energy of our endurance is the hope of seeing His face.” This is the only real hope! All other hopes — for a good career, a good family, a good future — have no positive destiny. Those less self-centered might hope for greater things: social justice, racial equality, world peace. These also are to no avail… unless they’re embodied in the hope for Christ in His second coming as the unique solution to every world problem. Call us Christians naive — we only believe what’s written in the Bible! Here’s just one (particularly appealing) example from Isaiah 11:
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb; And the leopard will lie down with the kid, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a young boy will lead them about. The cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the cobra’s hole, And upon the viper’s den The weaned child will stretch his hand. They will not harm nor destroy In all My holy mountain, For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah, As water covers the sea.
“Does our living bear the testimony of waiting for His return?” What a probing question. I still don’t know all of what this living should look like, but certainly it’s a living
- in the divine history within human history
- in Christ, by Christ, with Christ, for Christ, one with Christ
- as a heavenly citizen, taking no root in this earth (Hebrews 11:16)
- that does not allow eating, drinking, and marrying (Matthew 24:38; the necessities of human existence) to drug and dull the senses; that instead is vigilant in watching and beseeching (Luke 21:36)
- of paying the price to gain a reserve supply of oil (the Spirit) in one’s vessel (soul) (Matthew 25:1-13)
- of being faithful to trade with one’s talents — to use the gift given by the Lord (Matthew 25:14-30)
- of not only believing in His return, but also loving it, expecting it, and even hastening it — by preaching the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14) and building the church
- of aspiring to be ripened early for His satisfaction, to be precious enough to be “stolen” by Him (Revelation 3:3)
- that echoes His promise of “I come quickly” with the prayer “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)
Thou healing sun! Thou hope of man!
I really love Thy ray.
Oh, righteous Lord! oh, glorious King!
I bow to Thee and pray:
Oh, may Thou soon ascend Thy throne
And quickly show Thy face;
Thy heav’nly kingdom may Thou found
And grant all men Thy grace.