“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night . . . But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief” (I Thessalonians 5: 2, 4, English Standard Version).
As a child growing up, it was not unusual for the pastor to preach a rousing message on the coming of the Lord. The main thought was to always be ready because we did not know just when this would take place. Jesus would return for His church like a thief in the night. I confess, in my childlike mind, this was a fearful thing. Whenever I couldn’t find my mom or dad, the thought would race through my mind, “Did the rapture come? Am I left behind?”
I don’t hear this message preached as much today. Whether we don’t give much credence to the Lord’s return or are just too wrapped up in our busy lives to think about it, I don’t know. I do know some people are skeptical such an event will happen, but there have always been skeptics.
“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’” (II Peter 3:3-4, ESV).
If the Lord’s return is a real event—and God’s Word declares it is—why has God delayed? II Peter 3:9 offers one reason. He is patiently waiting for as many as possible to repent and be saved. In His mercy and love, He doesn’t want anyone to be lost.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (ESV).
Although as a child I felt frightened when I thought of the Lord’s return, I now realize He doesn’t want me to live in fear. Fear has no place in the heart of a believer. If I am living an overcoming, Spirit-filled life, then I should be filled with expectation and hope. Meeting my Savior, whether by death or in the rapture, should fill me joy. I will be with Him forever.
“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13, New King James Version).
Look up! Today may be the day the Lord returns for His bride.
Prayer: Lord, You promised to prepare a place for us, and we eagerly await the day You carry us away to our new home. We know it is Your will for everyone to be saved and ready to meet You. Help us to share our hope with those who may not know Your promises but long for something more in their lives. We want this same expectation and hope to fill their lives.