Summary: Things we should do while we are waiting for the Lord’s Return.
While You Are Waiting…
This past week I read about a first-grade teacher who was having a difficult day. It had rained that entire day and the children couldn’t go out for recess, so they got more and more restless and hyperactive as the day wore on. The teacher couldn’t wait for the bell to ring at 3 o’clock. About 2:45 she saw it was still raining, and so she decided to start getting the kids ready for dismissal. She sorted out their boots and raincoats and started helping get them on. Finally, they were ready to go, all except for one little boy whose boots were just too small for his feet. There were no zippers or straps, and it took every last ounce of strength she had to get them on. When at last she did get them on, she straightened up with a sigh of relief. That’s when the little boy looked down at his feet and said, "Teacher, you know what? These boots aren’t mine!" She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but being the good teacher she was, she smiled bravely and started taking them off. And they were harder to get off than they were to put on. She yanked and tugged until finally the boots were off. That’s when the little boy smiled at her and said, "They’re not my boots, but they’re my sister’s, and I got to wear them!"
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant
about those who fall asleep,
or to grieve like the rest of men,
who have no hope.
14 We believe that Jesus died and rose again
and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus
those who have fallen asleep in him.
15 According to the Lord’s own word,
we tell you that we who are still alive,
who are left till the coming of the Lord,
will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven,
with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel
and with the trumpet call of God,
and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17 After that, we who are still alive
and are left will be caught up together with them
in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.
And so we will be with the Lord forever.
18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.
The other two days have earned names on the church calendar: Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Yet in a real sense we live on Saturday, the day with no name. What the disciples experienced in small scale—three days in grief over one man who had died on a cross—we now live through on cosmic scale. Human history grinds on, between the time of promise and fulfillment. Can we trust that God can make something holy and beautiful and good out of a world? It’s Saturday on planet earth. Will Sunday ever come?
It is a good thing to remember that in the cosmic drama, we live out our days on Saturday, the in-between day with no name. While we are waiting!
7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.
12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
Back in the 1987 NCAA Regional Finals, LSU was leading Indiana by 8 points with only a few minutes left in the game. As is often the case with a team in the lead, LSU began playing a different ball game. The television announcer pointed out that the LSU players were beginning to watch the clock rather than wholeheartedly play the game. As a result of this shift in focus, Indiana closed the gap, won the game by one point, and eventually went on to become NCAA champions.
We’ve been waiting nearly 2000 years for Jesus’ “soon” coming to take place. What are we supposed to do while we wait?
As the Apostle Paul is writing to the Thessalonicians, he knew they were having a hard time waiting. To complicate matters, some of them were so sure that “soon” mean “any day now”, that they were troubled when people died. Did that person who died beat us to heaven? Will they be left out when Jesus returns? What about those of us who hang around here? How do we deal with waiting?
While you are waiting…
13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.