Have you ever spent the day waiting for a service person of some sort to come to your home? The washer repair man, the carpet cleaners, the air conditioner service person, the furniture delivery crew? If you have, you know that you don’t dare leave your house for even a few minutes to run to the post office or grab a Subway sandwich because, if you do, that’s exactly when your anticipated “guest” will arrive.
Recently, Southwest Gas had to turn off gas service to thousands of homes here in southern Arizona because of a decrease in pressure in the lines due to high demand of gas. So in the coldest days of the year many of our friends didn’t have hot water, heat or gas for cooking.
As the pressure in the lines began to equalize, the gas company began to send service people around to homes to turn the gas back on. But the catch was that you had to be home to get your gas restored. So where do you suppose many residents spent their weekend? You got it. They stayed home — in their cold houses. It may have been a little uncomfortable (although our houses here in Arizona tend to heat up during the day as long as there is adequate sunshine, and there was), but those folks weren’t going anywhere as long as there was the hope of getting the heat and hot water restored.
They were waiting with anticipation.
This morning I read Matthew 24 in my daily Bible reading. This is one of the few passages in the Bible where Jesus is telling His followers about His second coming. He’s letting them know that there is yet more to come. There will be a day when He will return for His followers and they, we, need to be ready.
When will Jesus come exactly? We don’t know. The angels in heaven don’t know. He doesn’t even know, oddly enough. Only the Father knows (Matthew 24:36).
But we can know this: He is coming at an hour when we least expect it.
- Watch faithfully. Stanley suggests that we not only watch for the Lord to return, but stand fast in our faith with courage and strength while He tarries. He says we need to be watching out for false prophets and remaining aware of the signs of the times. But most importantly, we need to be watching like children hoping to get a glimpse of Santa Clause. We need to anticipate His return every day. Revelation 16:15 promises a special blessing for those who are watching with anticipation. “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches.”
- Work diligently. Dr. Stanley reminded me that if God had nothing more for me to do than watch, He would have just zapped me on to heaven on the day of my salvation. But He didn’t. He left me here to work on His behalf. First, I need to be sharing the good news of Salvation and my personal testimony with others. Secondly, I need to be growing spiritually and drawing closer to the Lord. That way I’ll be ready for life in His very presence. That work never ends. There is always more to do.
- Wait patiently. Undoubtedly, the longer we have to wait for Jesus’ return, the worse things will begin to seem on this earth. There will be more wars, more violence, more injustice, more natural disasters. If I lose my patience with Christ’s return, I may begin to fear the situations in my world. I may begin to feel like things are out of control and there is no hope. But Jesus intentionally left us with peace. “My peace I give you,” said Jesus before He left His disciples. We need to wait patiently for Him to return and we need to cling to that peace that surpasses understanding as things continue to spiral down . We don’t need to fear, but to hope, with certainty, that He will come soon.
We usually grumble and complain and watch the clocks while we wait for service people to show up at our houses. But we sure are glad when they finally arrive. Sometimes they don’t arrive, huh? But Jesus will surely come. And until He does, He encourages us to wait with joyful anticipation – watching faithfully, working diligently, and waiting patiently.
He is coming again. Are we ready?