|OK, I guess I feel a little bad about scaring Amelia here, but I was apparently just preparing for this blog years later! It was a little funny though ... =)|
I remember one time my youngest daughter (3 at the time I think) told me as she was going to bed that Jesus was coming back in 40 hours! I have to admit, after a few chuckles and smiles I had the thought ... Wow. What if?
I even texted a few close friends and family members to let them know of the cute and interesting moment; my responses were wide and varied. Some weren't too thrilled at the reality of that if it was true, and one was pondering the fact that when the text came through they were watching Hell's Kitchen and wondered if that was a bad omen! However another simply replied, "Thank you Jesus!"
So with those stories I've often reflected on the idea of Jesus coming back to us like a thief in the night. I would imagine any of us who have spent any time in the Scriptures have came across that idea, but let me bring up a few of those verses so at least we're all on the same page.
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:43-44 ESV)
"But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:39-40 ESV)
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
(1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV)
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10 ESV)
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (Revelation 3:3 ESV)
It's very clear from Scripture as you can see that we will not know the time when He will return. I don't know where your heart is in this but for me it used to be a little troubling. Obviously the point is that we should be ready, but I used to look at this idea as very threatening and unwelcoming. After all, a thief is not someone you even want in your house at all. Granted, these passages talk about the day and time itself and how He will be coming, not about character; it's about His timing, not about comparing His character to a thief. The verse in Revelation does indeed talk more about judgement itself, however the context is about a specific church that was once alive, but is now dead. It speaks of God's desired repentance for the church so that this event will not have to end the way it is heading.
However, the point of this journal entry for me was to capture my thoughts as I continued to read through that fifth chapter of 1 Thessalonians ... a few verses later, after being told that He will come like a thief, you get this:
But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5 ESV)
For a believer, this may be a surprising moment, but far from something that we should feel as unwelcoming. There are different ways to feel surprised. Are you going to be surprised as if walking into a dark room, seeing the lights flick on, and hearing a loving group of family members and friends shout Surprise; or are you going to be surprised in the way like seconds after you answer that ringing phone and hear the news ... you fall to your knees in tears?
Let our reaction and hope for the news of His arrival not bring anxiety, but simply bring to our lips the words "Thank you Jesus!"
There is a Truth out there; are you ready? I hope so. That way when those lights flick on we get to reach out and hug one another! Talk about a party that brings the words "off the chain" to life! =)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 ESV)