You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5, verse 8.
A few miles south of where my mom lives in southeast Oklahoma, there is a sign beside the road. It has been there for many years, and serves as a warning and a plea. Taken from Matthew 25:13, the sign says “watch and pray for you do not know the hour when the Son of Man will return.” Amen. Matthew could be leading James to say what he did in verse 8. Every time I drive by that sign, I read it out loud and remind myself that this is an unfulfilled promise Christ made, but that it’s a promise all the same. He keeps his promises.
Now let me tell you a secret: I’m glad He hasn’t come back yet. My wife and I were talking about this just the other day. I’m glad Jesus hasn’t come back yet, that He didn’t come back catching me in the middle of some of my worst moments. I’m not naïve: I know He knows what I’ve done in this world; who I’ve hurt, my dirtiest sins, the glaring hypocrisy, things I would rather not admit. Jesus knows all of them. Still, I’m glad He didn’t come to confront me with eternity while I was doing some of them. I’m ashamed enough as is, and it might be a dreadful thing to meet the Lord of Lords while blaspheming His commands.
…And yet we do that all the time, yet Jesus is still coming back. We don’t know when or where, and for thousands of years that has seemed to give us emotional carte blanche to think it’ll never happen. But happen it will, just as both James and Matthew said it would. Indeed, when so many people in the world don’t know or even know about Jesus, it’s a good thing that He hasn’t returned to end history. More of us need Him, and He loves all people, even those who repulse us. He loves us despite the fact that we lie, cheat, fornicate, hurt, ignore, scheme, and abuse (and that’s just on Sunday mornings).
Even me in my most repulsive moments He loves me enough to have died for me. Even in yours, too.
Jesus, thank You for loving me when I haven’t deserved it. Help me to do better for You, to love as You love the best that I can.
How much do you love strangers?
When did you last do something kind for a stranger?
Do you REALLY believe Jesus is coming back? If not, why?