Our discussion of a heavenly hope and a place without sickness brings us closer to the end of this time—the return of Jesus Christ. This hope is based on the promises made by Jesus Christ to the disciples as recorded in the gospels—“Do not be troubled, I go to prepare a place for you and I will return to take you there to live with me” (John 14:1-3, Matthew 24:29–31). In Christian language we call this event, The Second Coming. Even though the timing of the event is unknown, we have a description of Jesus’ impending arrival:
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Just like modern day Christians, the believers during Paul’s time were asking, “When will Jesus return?” And like us, the wait seems endless. Especially when violence spreads through our countries and new diseases and plagues continue to inflict suffering and pain upon us and our patients. It is easy to become discouraged. We may fluctuate between impatience with frustrating cries of “WHEN Lord!” versus murmuring in apathy. “Whatever, Lord.”
Paul, the writer to the believers in Thessalonica, knew they needed more than just a reminder, they needed to have hope. Thus, he encouraged them to support one another and to maintain vigilance.
Let’s takes Paul’s advice. As we anticipate and wait for Jesus to return, we can pray and inspire our fellow believers to stay steadfast, while at the same time hasten the Lord to “come” quickly (Revelation 22:17, 20)
We wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)
p.s. For those who lost loved ones in the Malaysian Flight MH17, please know our hearts are broken at your loss and our prayers fill the Lord’s chamber with tears and sadness.