Come, Lord Jesus!

by Abraham Cremeens

 

Over the last two weeks, I’ve made a statement more times than I can count: “I can’t wait until COVID has passed.” Many in our church family are fighting it. We have had to pivot responsibilities as a staff team multiple times. I really can’t wait for COVID to calm down.

 

Longings come naturally for us as humans and not only the longing for the negatives to pass away. We often long for good things to come, too. I recall my engagement season with Kari. It was such an exciting time. Over those months we greatly anticipated our wedding day. We met with the caterer and taste-tested a variety of entrees and cake options. (I also selected a variety of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to be made into a tower as the groom’s cake - brilliant!) We visited several facilities and reserved a beautiful cabin in the Appalachian mountains for the ceremony and reception. 

 

We all have longings, whether it be for the college diploma, the birth of a child or grandchild, or a 50th wedding anniversary. God has made us creatures of longing. We anticipate at all times. We look forward to good things as a common practice. But let me offer a heart-check: Do you long for Christ’s return as much as you do the fall season, Christmas time, or Purdue basketball? 

 

I confess I don’t think about that coming day very often, and God recently convicted me of it. With my several exclamations of, “I can’t wait for COVID to be done,” I was hit with the afterthought, “Do I long even more for Christ’s return when there is no more death, sickness, or disease at all?”

 

The good news of Jesus is not only that our sins are forgiven (as important as that is). The gospel is also about the removal of all sin one day in the new heavens and earth. Recall from Colossians 1:5 that you have a hope laid up for you in heaven. The gospel for today is also the gospel for the eternal tomorrow.

 

It seems that the New Testament church was keenly aware of Christ’s return and anticipated it as a normal, everyday hope. For instance, to the Christians in Thessalonica, the apostle Paul wrote (emphasis mine),

 

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (ESV)

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.  

 

Christ’s return is most detailed in the book of Revelation. It climaxes with a description of what is to come and what is actually our greatest longing:

 

Revelation 21:3-4 (ESV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 

 

Finally, the book concludes with these words:

 

Revelation 22:20 (ESV)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! 

 

Life on earth is a strange thing. It is both good and broken. It makes us long for the better yet to come. It reminds us that the Christ-centered life is also a hope-for-heaven life. You may be having the time of your life right now, longing for a special event. (After all, Christmas is only 71 days away!) The next time you say, “I can’t wait until _____,” remember the greater longing it points to. You may be struggling through a season or just can’t wait until COVID calms down. The next time you say, “I can’t wait until _____,” follow it with “Come, Lord Jesus!”

 

The longings of the heart matter, but they matter most when they guide you to the greater longing of seeing Jesus face to face. Let’s be a people who encourage one another with these words as we unite around the prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus!”