The other day, my two-year-old daughter was standing in the kitchen, randomly saying, “Jesus was born, Jesus was born!” So I said, “Jesus died. He rose again, He went to Heaven, and – guess what? He’s coming back to see us!”
As soon as the phrase, “He’s coming back to see us” left my mouth, I winced, reflexively thinking, “I shouldn’t tell her that. She might actually expect Him to come visit sometime soon.”
My knee-jerk reaction kind of embarrassed me. Christians have believed in Jesus’ impending return for over 2000 years. But there I was, a professing Christian, worried about my daughter thinking He could arrive at any time.
Standing there contemplating all this, I realized that although I believe Jesus is coming back, I’ve pushed it so far into the future that it almost has no impact on me. And then I remembered a time when it wasn’t that way.
I was nine years old, and our pastor was doing a series on Jesus’ impending return. I was beside myself with excitement. In fact, I remember thinking it would be a good idea to dress in a white sheet (not sure why), climb a tree, and wait for Him to come sweep me away.
One afternoon around that time, I was at home in my family’s apartment, and I let my imagination – and my vocal chords – run wild with excitement over the idea of Jesus coming back. Using a microphone my parents owned, I started belting out the rapture-ready song “We Shall See the King When He Comes” at the top of my lungs.
Although my dad typically encouraged singing, it got so out-of-control that he burst into the apartment and hollered at me to get quiet (if he hadn’t have done it, I’m sure the police would have).
But the most important thing about my childhood enthusiasm for Jesus’ impending return was how it impacted the way I thought about my nine-year-old life. I figured, if Jesus could show up at any moment, I wanted Him to be pleased with the way I was living when He arrived.
Yet here I was, 24 years later, emotionally disconnected from the idea that Jesus’ return might be around the corner – and worse, I was afraid of teaching my little girl the same thing that got my nine-year-old heart all fired up.
There in the kitchen, a short conversation with my little girl forced me to decide whether I believed – not just that Jesus was coming back – but that Jesus might be coming for a visit in the next couple of weeks.
An unbelieving part of me tried to urge caution – it was the part of me that doesn’t want to be looked down upon by non-Christians, the part of me that is embarrassed by the poorly-made “Left Behind” movies and all the gullible people who, in 2011, sold everything because some quack on the radio told them Jesus was coming on May 21. But a nine-year-old boy inside was singing “We Shall See the King” so loudly that he drowned out these fears and actually got me a little excited about the prospect of seeing Jesus sometime soon.
“Jesus was born!” my daughter said.
“Yep, He sure was,” I said. “And remember what I said about Him coming back? He is coming back – He’s coming to see us really soon.”
So we don't really know when, it could be soon, or it could be another 2000 years. The truth is, it doesn't matter. I think that is the point. I guess rather than having some kind of giddy excitement over the possibility that it could be tomorrow, I take his impending return as a promise that gives hope (as opposed to some threat to be good). The truth is, it doesn't matter if it is really soon or not, the joy will be the same.
I wouldn't freak out about your reaction too much. I'd assume that it was based on the fact that you've already come into contact with your daughter's young child tendency to have no concept of the passage of time, and you know that when you tell her anything about a future event, she's going to ask you about it a million times until it happens. That's why we don't tell my boys that they're going to visit Nana and Papa until the night before…. =)Wait until you experience this one…. http://suburbansaga.blogspot.com/2011/02/he-cant-see-jesus.html
Nick, don't be such a party pooper! 🙂 There's nothing wrong with being excited about Jesus' return. It's another way of choosing to be aware that He is real.
Kudos for teaching your children things about God. You planted a seed and His word never returns void. Very thought provoking!Just think if we would plant seeds now and then; eventually we would reap a harvest!Worst klutz to the 10th power…L
What if we thought differently about "the coming of Jesus" in that he can come into our lives, minds, hearts and souls every day, every second, forever til the day we die if we allow it? What if he is always present but because are thinking is elsewhere, we cannot see him? If we can stay the course and feverishly put our efforts into how he has taught us I am convinced that we won't have to wait for him to come because, he is already here.
Actually, I think both can be true, but I like where you're going with that thought.
Your nine-year-old inclination to want the Lord to be pleased with how you are living when He returns was right on. John wrote: "…it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And every one who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:2-3).Your enthusiasm for His return is also biblically warranted. In fact, it will receive a special award. Paul told Timothy that "in the future there is laid up for me (Paul) the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8).Your post is a great reminder that "the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:11-13).Thank you for the very good and timely reminder. God bless.www.randomtheoloblog.wordpress.com
LOL I am reminded at the beginning of your story here about how I told me Lebanese people (whom I provide healthcare services in their home to) that Jesus is coming soon. They don't speak English very well, so I have learned Lebanese Arabic. In their language, Jesus is Yessua…not Yeshua like Hebrew…YES-SU-AH. So I said, "Yessua coming here soon!" The man walked to the window, looked out, turned around, looked at his wife, who was also looking out, then they just looked at me and laughed..he patted me on the back. They thought I meant Jesus was coming over to their house to eat or something…they thought I was awfully strange! LOL Every time I tell them that Jesus is coming soon, they laugh and pat me on the back, thinking I am being funny.
True that but he does make a point. His return spurs us to live for Him, with lots of expectancy!!!
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