Suffering: Waiting For The End


By Vince Antonucci

Jesus is coming. Are you ready?

Have you been living in anticipation for His return?  Most of us believe Jesus will return again but that knowledge gets overshadowed by the demands of everyday life. And much like the trials and struggles we face, the end never seems to come. 

Christ was offered 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. (Hebrews 9:28)

Have you ever watched a movie and thought, Is this ever going to end?  Maybe it was boring or too long or just bad, and you couldn’t wait for the final scene and the credits to roll.

Do you ever feel that way about life? It can become a little boring at time as we yearn for something more. Sometimes it seems to be going on forever. And there’s so much that’s just bad. We look at all the problems in the world, and we suffer through our own problems, and we wonder, IS THIS EVER GOING TO END? Could we get a final scene, maybe a climatic ending?

Yes. Yes, we can. And...we will.

Let me ask you this:

What would you do if you knew you only had forty-eight more hours to live?  

Would you think to yourself, I'll watch a lot of TV while I wait? Or, I'll go right to the mall and do a lot of shopping?  Or, I'll head to the office and make sure I get a lot of work done?  Or, I'll probably spend most of my time on Facebook?  Or, I think I'll play video games?  

I doubt it. The funny thing is that we have no idea how much time we have left--it may be only 48 hours--but those are the ways most of us will spend our time. We live like we have forever, but Jesus says we should "be ready all the time."

If we only had forty-eight more hours, my guess is we’d make sure we’re right with God and prepared for what comes after this life., And we’d try to help everyone we can to be right with God and prepared for what comes after this life. 

I keep thinking that as our daily focus is part of what it means to be ready all the time.

THE FOOL

One time Jesus told a story about a man who is making lots of money and looking forward to a leisurely retirement. Then God speaks to him and says, “You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?” Jesus adds, “Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.”

Admittedly, this story isn’t a warning about Jesus returning. It’s a story warning about death, but the point is the same.

Fool is, I think, the most negative word God calls anyone in the Bible. What made this man a fool?  He was a fool because he lived for today and didn’t have the end in mind. He cared only about this life and had no thought of eternity. Knowing we are going to die and Jesus is going to return, that the end is coming, we’d be fools to live only for today.

I did a study of the passages about Jesus coming back, and I noticed a theme. Here are a few examples:

May the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

Obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (1 Timothy 6:14)

The day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. ….What holy and godly lives you should live. (2 Peter 3:10-11)

The theme?  Be holy.

BE HOLY

To be holy basically means to be set apart for a purpose. When you decide to make Jesus your Savior and Lord, you are choosing to be set apart by God for his purposes. So you live the rest of your life for God and in obedience to his commands.

There are so many reasons to be holy: God deserves it. God commands it. Jesus died for our sins, and we don’t want to sin anymore. We now know better. There’s a better life for us to live. God gave us the Holy Spirit so we can be holy. We represent God and want to set a good example.

And here we have another reason: Jesus will be back. The Bible says it this way in 1 John 2:28: “Dear children, remain in fellowship with Christ so that when he returns, you will be full of courage and not shrink back from him in shame."

God loves us so much, he invited us into his story. And as the story comes to its climax when Jesus returns, we don’t want to be embarrassed by the part we played in it. We want to feel confidence, not shame.

THE END.

God is the star of the story.

It’s his story, but he loves us and invites us into it.

Sometimes when we we’re living in it, it can feel long, and we just want it to end.

It’s going to.

Jesus is coming back.


 

VINCE ANTONUCCI is the teaching pastor at Verve Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vince became a Christian out of a completely non-Christian background, which has led him to start two churches for people who don’t like church. Vince is the author of several books, including God for the Rest of Us.



This excerpt was taken from DEVO For The Rest Of Us: The Next 40 Days On Your Journey Of Faith written by Vince Antonucci.