What’s taking so long?

Do you ever wonder why God is taking so long to keep His last promise to us? It’s frustrating too because that last promise of His (the one where He says He’ll come back for us) is the one that makes us all sound like we’re one fry short of a Happy Meal. But it’s in the Bible. So I believe it. And I don’t subscribe to the crazies who have the day picked out (I think it’s October 21 now) because no one but God knows when He’s returning. Not even Jesus knows . . . and He is God . . . He’s just not God the Father (just try to wrap your brain around that one) . . . . so if Jesus doesn’t know, I guarantee nobody on Earth has a clue.

But do you ever wonder why God is taking His sweet time?

There are days when I get so tired of waiting on Him to come back. I am so weary of this world, of dealing with fake Christians, of struggling with this dark nature inside me that makes me want to do things I know are wrong. I want to go home where none of that will exist and where I’ll be able to hang with Jesus face to face every day, where we’ll be able to approach God and thank Him for all He’s done for us — no longer separated by this wall of fallen humanity I’m stuck in. And it’ll never be night. And time won’t matter. And we’ll be able to do the things we love to do every day without having to worry about paying bills or having something to eat or making people angry.

Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? =)

So what’s taking Him so long? People have been talking about God’s returning for us for thousands of years. There are days when I feel like Noah building the ark, and all my neighbors pass by laughing at me. If you haven’t ever listened to the Bill Cosby routines about Noah and the Neighbor, click on the video below.

But on those days when I start getting frustrated, I think about today’s verse, 2 Peter 3:9.

9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

We humans are always moving so fast. We never like to slow down, and it’s hard for us to remember that God is patient. He loves this world so much that He doesn’t want to just snatch everyone up and forget the rest. No! That would contradict everything God is.

And while most prophecy has been fulfilled, there is still one outstanding. And that is that every nation will have the opportunity to come to know Christ. And that hasn’t happened yet. There are still nations of people who haven’t heard the truth yet. Like that tribe of folks they just discovered in the Amazon.

Everyone in the world needs to have the chance to make a choice. That’s why World Missions are so important. Bringing the Gospel to peoples who’ve never heard it before is something we’re commanded to do. But on that same note, I’d like to hope that He’s being patient for the U.S. too. Because while the rest of the world seems to be coming to Christ by the truckload, the U.S. is stuck in a rut. But can a country that was founded with a Christian heritage (it was; do your research and go read all the monuments in DC and you’ll see) who has fallen away from their roots ever go back to them again? Everyone in the U.S. has heard the truth, and the vast majority of people have chosen to ignore it, opting either to follow their own hearts or to follow some man’s teaching.

I’m glad God is patient. Because if He can be patient with all the people who are left in the world who don’t know His name, that means He can be patient with me when I forget who He is. And while I don’t think His patience will ever end, there is a day when He will have to move. And while I selfishly look forward to the day I can go home, I hope when that day comes that everyone I know is ready.

 

October 21?

If you have never read the Book of Hebrews, you should. It’s an awesome book, full of all sorts of mind-bending truths. Maybe you’ve read Hebrews 11, the Faith Hall of Fame, as some have called it. But the rest of the book is just as amazing.

What I love about Hebrews is how it juxtaposes the differences between the two covenants, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Testament and the New Testament. Faith before Christ and faith after Christ.

If the Old Testament seems strange, full of people who sacrifice bulls and goats and lambs . . . well. It is strange. People who followed God in the Old Testament were a peculiar people. People who follow Christ now and in the New Testament were also a little odd, but they didn’t walk around slaughtering animals in sacrifice.

In the Old Testament, people sacrificed animals as offerings for sin as an indication that they had faith God would save them. In the New Testment, people announced their faith in Christ as the Messiah as an indication that they believed God would save them. The avenues to salvation were different, but people were still saved by faith, no matter which era they lived in. And that still holds true today.

Which brings us to the verse for today, Hebrews 9:28.

28 so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.

Christ died once. He came to Earth, lived as a human, lived a perfect life, and was killed brutally to pay for our sins. And not just the sin of one person. The sins of many people.

Many people who lived during Christ’s time on earth mistook His purpose for coming in the first place. They thought He had come to deliver them from their captivity to Rome. But Christ came to deliver them from their captivity to sin. The first time Christ came to Earth, His plan was to put the finishing touches on His incredible salvation plan. But the next time He comes, He’s not coming for sin; He’s coming for us.

Christ has already dealt with our sin. When we put our faith in Him, He forgets it, He marks it out, He casts it to the bottom of the ocean, as far away as East is from the West. If you are a follower of Christ, your sin is done, at least as far as your record goes. We’ll still sin, but Christ no longer counts it against us.

When He comes the second time, He’s coming to take us home.

And I think the end of Hebrews 9:28 is probably the understatement of the year:

“to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to blow this popsicle stand. I want to go home. I want to meet Jesus face to face. I want to live the kind of life He created me to live. I want to be reunited with my friends and my family who are already there. And I want to meet the heroes of faith who left behind so many amazing stories. I’m tired of being dragged down by sin and discouragement and the black, bleak weariness that suffuses this life.

I’m not just eagerly waiting. I’m chomping at the bit.

That being said, though, the other half of my heart is glad that He hasn’t come back yet. There are still so many people who don’t believe. And I hope they will realize soon that time is running out . . . . although, you can be very sure that it won’t run out on October 21.