Have you ever awakened and thought, This would be a great day for Jesus to come back! I have. I can remember in high school thinking those very words on the day I had a big test in front of me. And in college, as final exams loomed large, I wished for the same thing. Now there are bigger tests and things much more final than exams that grab my heart and cause me to long for His return. The truth is, sometimes we just want out of this crazy, painful world.
I work at French Peas Flower Shop on Mondays. It’s a busy day, not only because it is the first day of the work week, but that is the day the flowers arrive. There are phones ringing, flowers to process, orders to be delivered, and it all seems to happen at once.
The other day, as I walked out of the front door to load the van with my deliveries, I was greeted with the most magnificent sight. It absolutely took my breath away—I had to just stop and stare. The summer heat of the August afternoon had caused the clouds to pile high into the sky in wonderful, majestic formations. They covered the horizon like a beautiful mountain range as far as my eye could see, clouds billowing high and far and wide. It made me homesick for Colorado. It made me homesick for heaven.
As I lingered over the painting in front of me, my heart felt sad. I longed for Christ to return. Amazingly though, instead of my heart staying in that place I thought of what the angels said to the disciples as they stared at the sky just after Jesus ascended into heaven: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, ESV). Acts 1:9 tells us a cloud took him out of their sight.
Prior to this amazing event, the disciples had asked Jesus a question: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6, ESV). They didn’t know He was about to leave them. They thought it was the perfect time to establish this Kingdom He had been telling them about (Acts 1:3). They were certain this would be the ideal moment to set things straight, now that He was alive!
We, like the disciples, have things we want restored. We too long for His kingdom to come and for Him to set things straight. We think we know just how and when it ought to happen. Just like the disciples, we want it now. It is hard to wait.
Christ’s return is certain. He will come to establish His kingdom, but it is not for us to know the time or the season this will occur (Acts 1:7). For some, this builds anticipation and is the impetus for their witnessing to others about Jesus and bringing as many into the kingdom as they can. For others, maybe the majority of Christians, the delay in His coming lulls us into complacency. The daily grind becomes our way of life. We simply long for His rescue from the mundane things, or the pain that life brings and the evil we see that feels so overwhelming.
That day, as I stood by the delivery van, I longed for Jesus’ return; but I decided those beautiful clouds were there to remind me that His promises are sure. He will come back again, and He will come in the clouds with power and glory. He will make everything right and restore all things.
As I pondered the truth, I felt joy welling up deep inside me, followed by peace. I am grateful the Spirit reminded me of what the angels had said. It turned my longing into joy: When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul (Psalm 94:19, NIV).
I am grateful God’s sovereign purposes are always accomplished. And I pray He will help me wait patiently, yet always ready to share the hope I have with whoever needs to hear it (1 Peter 3:15).