[This is the third post in a series about the Blessed Hope–the return of Jesus Christ.]
So how can we think about the Second Coming of Christ without being fearful?
Chapter four of First Thessalonians mentions many things about the return of Christ. Surprisingly, the chapter concludes in this way: “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18 nkjv).
Wow. We should not fear, but find comfort as we think about the return of Jesus!
A “return” can be a very happy occasion. The first comparison I can think of is when children are separated from their parents.
Can you remember, as a child, when your parents dropped you off at kindergarten? After a few hours of play, did you begin to feel homesick? If you did, maybe you remember being upset and worried that they wouldn’t come back. Remember your relief when a door opened and you saw that loved one? The warm smile of your mother comforted you and the strong arms of your father wrapped you up. What joy! What a relief! There is that familiar face again, you are going home!
Consider newlyweds who are separated because of military service. The time away is long. Thousands of miles separate them. They are haunted by questions for which they are given no answers. Then, an unexpected order is given and the loved one returns and is standing on the threshold. Thousands of miles have been telescoped to a few feet. They are in each other’s arms, reveling in the overpowering love flowing between them.
Returns can be very happy indeed. And the return of Jesus Christ, the happiest of all.
Yet the kindergartner who has pushed classmates, disobeyed the teacher, and messed up the play area won’t be so happy to see the returning parent.
The child knows he needs to toe the line, apologize, and clean up his mess.
When thoughts of Christ’s return are clouded with uneasy feelings, we need to examine our lives. Do we need to acknowledge we’ve been out of line? Agree with God about our sin and apologize? Clean up our lives?
The clouds are disquieting, but a remedy is given:
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19 nkjv).