Published May 25, 2010

Paul's Epistle...
"Anxiously Awaiting"

How anxious are you for the Lord's return?

His promised return, of course, is the "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13) for the Christian. It is when the Lord will finally accomplish what the prophets foretold and all that He has promised in His Word.

So, how anxious are your for the Lord's return?

Yes, most Christians are, indeed, anxious. But that's a trick question, because that very same word – "anxious" – can be used in two different ways.

The way we most commonly use "anxious" in modern English implies that we can't wait for something — we very much want something to happen, and soon! Webster's 7th Collegiate Dictionary says someone who is anxious for something to happen is "ardently or earnestly wishing." Another dictionary says "earnestly desirous; eager." "I am anxious for the party!" or "I am anxious to go on vacation!"

But the other sense of that word "anxious" means, according to Webster, "characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear about some contingency." Another says, "full of mental distress or uneasiness because of fear of danger or misfortune; greatly worried." It's closely related to the word "anxiety."

Interestingly, there are Christians on both sides of that same word – "anxious" – when it comes to the promise of the Lord's return, especially if you believe it could happen very, very soon. Some are eager. Some are ... uneasy.

Bible scholars tell us there are no requirements yet to be met, according to Scripture, before the Lord returns. That's the doctrine of "imminence." It could happen at any time. But those same scholars make clear that the Lord promised we could recognize certain signs that would precede His return, and that those signs are increasingly apparent today.

So, in you heart of hearts, how would you feel about it if you knew the Lord would return in a week? Tomorrow? Even later today? Be honest, because any sign of reluctance indicates you may have issues which need to be resolved – immediately.

The Apostle John, as he penned the words of the book of Revelation, ended with the very last prayer of the Bible – "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20.) John was certainly "earnestly desirous" and "eager" for the Lord's return. The Lord had shown him exactly what it would mean – and he was ready!

But a lot of people today focus on the "even so" rather than the "come, Lord Jesus." "Even so" in modern English usually means "nevertheless," which was not the case with the original Greek for that term, which meant, "Yes!" or "Surely!"

Back in 1988, a book came out called "88 Reasons Why The Lord Will Return in 88." I remember thinking at the time, "I have a lot left that I think I'm supposed to do. Great as it would be for the Lord to come back now, this just doesn't seem like the right time." The book was wrong, of course, but I think my attitude was wrong, too. We need to be able to say "Come, Lord Jesus" – and mean it totally – regardless of what we have planned or feel we have yet to accomplish.

Regarding that last one, if that's the case, you really need to reach them soon because the Lord's return is very near. Remember, whenever the Lord returns, there will be a lot of people with a lot of unfinished business – even very worthy plans. But His return will mean the time for accomplishing things for Him here will be over. As the old hymn says, "Work for the night is coming, when man works no more."

If you have trouble praying, "Come, Lord Jesus," and really meaning it, perhaps you have issues you need to settle with the Lord – right now! Before we can truly get excited about the Lord's soon coming, we must first come to Him.

The risen Lord told John, "Surely, I am coming quickly" (Rev. 22:20). The word translated "quickly" can also be translated "suddenly" — as in "at any moment."

So, are you anxious for the Lord's return? In what way? Are you "ardently wishing" He would return today? Or does that thought of seeing the Lord face-to-face give you "uneasiness?" John was ready – and earnestly praying – that it would happen, and the sooner the better. Are you?

- Paul

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