“...so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.”
Hebrews 9.28 (NKJV)
Waiting is hard. Waiting “eagerly” is even harder. Eagerness implies enthusiasm, intensity, perhaps even impatience, which is almost contradictory. Those who desire the Lord’s return are “impatiently patient” in their anticipation (Philippians 3.20). The challenge in eager waiting is the passage of time. Enthusiasm wanes when the desired end is far away. My bucket list includes a visit to Scotland (for obvious reasons, if you know me). But if that trip were five years away, I doubt that I’d be overly enthusiastic today. Such is the inevitable impact of time upon our desires.
Nonetheless, it occurs to me that there are a couple of truths that we should remember as we “eagerly wait” for the Lord.
First, He could come today. He noted this to the apostles in Matthew 24.42-25.13.
42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. 48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. 6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. 11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
And the apostles underscored the same to us (I Thessalonians 5.1-11; II Peter 3.8-13). Thus, my anticipation ought to be enthusiastic every day of my life.
Second, time goes by so very fast.
whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
While some days may seem to drag by, it is amazing how quickly our lives are spent. Wisdom, it would seem, should conclude that we are rapidly approaching our meeting with the Lord, whether such involves the end of the world or simply the end of the world for me. It will be here before I can turn around twice.
Bottom line? Christ is coming back to complete redemption. That excites me. The time to go home is near. My life should be lived with enthusiasm as a result, whether in daily activity or in formal worship. For Christians, even in the most difficult of circumstances, “eagerly waiting” should be the mark of our very existence.