The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/25

Posted on | May 25, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/25

Scripture reading: I Thessalonians 5:1–11

What If It Were Today?

It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father
has set by his own authority. (Acts 1:7. NIV)

Ever since the first-century, Christians have speculated about the date of Christ’s return. Some have tried to read the prophecies of the Bible like a crystal ball, thinking they could piece together a calendar of events that would enable them to know the very day. But Jesus warned against setting dates and reminded his followers that not even he knew the time of his own return! But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in
heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32). The big question therefore is this: Why would the Father want to keep such an important date a secret?

I learned part of the answer to this question by reflecting on a reality that often took place in our family several years ago. When we lived in Albany, New York, my wife Katy would often travel to Kentucky to visit her family. Many of these trips she took alone. Sometimes she would travel by plane and sometimes by car (a two-day trip). As she left, she would always give clear instructions: “Stan, keep the house clean!” When Katy travelled by plane, I always knew precisely at what moment she would return which meant I could wait until the last minute to clean the house. I would let dishes pile up in the sink, neglect laundry and leave beds unmade until the day her flight arrived. Then, a few hours before driving to the airport to meet her, I would work frantically to clean the house so that when she arrived it would be spic and span. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” she would say upon entering the door. But when Katy travelled by car, I never knew at what moment she would pull into the driveway! In the days before cell phones, this was a major dilemma for one not doing his job. This meant that I had to keep the house clean all the time! Everyday I lived with the haunting question; “What if it were today?” Terror gripped my heart at the thought of hearing the car in the driveway and the house being a mess. “Lo, she cometh!”

This comical illustration contains a very serious theological truth. God does not want us to know the date of Christ’s return because he wants us to live in constant readiness.

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24:42–44)

If you want more specific information about the precise date of Christ’s return you can turn to the next-to-the-last verse in the Bible. Here Jesus himself speaks directly to the matter: Surely I am coming soon! Jesus is not leaving us in dark about the date of his return. He is leaving us in the light! Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20).

If the thought of Christ’s imminent return causes panic rather than joy, then your house is still messy and you are unprepared. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober (I Thessalonians 5:6).

The love of the world and the love of
God are like the scales of a balance,
as the one falls, the other rises.
—Henry Scougal

point to ponder • Does the thought of Christ’s return bring you comfort, or does it cause panic?

prayer focus • Invite God to “clean house.”


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