Week of December 24
When Christ Comes
by Max Lucado
If a cluster of us summarized our emotions regarding the return of Christ in one word—what words would we hear? What word would you use?
Discomfort? Likely a popular choice. You've been told your mistakes will be revealed. You've been told your secrets will be made known. Books will be opened, and names will be read. You know God is holy. You know you are not. How could the thought of his return bring anything but discomfort?
Besides, there are all those phrases—"the mark of the beast," "the Antichrist," and "the battle of Armageddon." And what about "the wars and rumors of wars"? And what was that the fellow said on TV? "Avoid all phone numbers with the digits 666." And that magazine article disclosing the new senator as the Antichrist? Discomforting, to say the least.
Or perhaps discomfort is not your word of choice. Denial might be more accurate. (Or maybe it's by denial that you deal with the discomfort?) Ambiguity is not a pleasant roommate. We prefer answers and explanations, and the end of time seems short on both. Consequently, you opt not to think about it. Why consider what you can't explain? If he comes, fine. If not, fine. But I'm going to bed. I have to work tomorrow.
Or how about this word—disappointment? This one may surprise you, unless you've felt it; then you'll relate. Who would feel disappointment at the thought of Christ's coming? A mother-to-be might—she wants to hold her baby. An engaged couple might—they want to be married. A soldier stationed overseas might—he wants to go home before he goes home.
This trio is just a sampling of the many emotions stirred by the thought of Christ's return. Others might be obsessed. (These are the folks with the charts and codes and you-better-believe-it prophecies.)Panic. ("Sell everything and head to the hills!")
I wonder what God would want us to feel. It's not hard to find the answer. Jesus said it plainly in John 14: "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. . . . I will come back and take you to be with me" (vv. 1, 3). It's a simple scenario. The Father has gone away for a while. But he will return. And until then, he wants his children to be at peace.
I want the same for my three daughters.
I left them last night so I could get away and finish this book. With a kiss and a hug, I walked out the door and promised to return. Did I want to leave them? No. But this book needed some work, and the publisher needed a manuscript, so here I am—in a hideaway—pounding a computer keyboard. We have accepted the fact that a time of separation is necessary to finish the job.
While we are apart, do I want them to feel discomfort? Do I want them dreading my return? No.
What about denial? Would I be pleased to hear that they have removed my picture from the mantel and my plate from the table and are refusing to discuss my arrival? I don't think so.
How about disappointment? "Oh, I hope Daddy doesn't come before Friday night—I really want to go to that slumber party." Am I such a fuddy-dud dad that my coming will spoil the fun?
Well, perhaps I am. But God isn't. And, if he has his way with us, thoughts of his return won't disappoint his children. He, too, is away from his family. He, too, has promised to return. He isn't writing a book, but he is writing history. My daughters don't understand all the intricacies of my task; we don't understand all the details of his. But our job in the meantime? Trust. Soon the final chapter will be crafted and he'll appear at the door. But until then Jesus says: "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me."
This is the desire of God.
When Christ Comes: The Beginning of the Very Best
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado