By Grant Phillips
Has anyone ever heard of “the patience of Job?” It has eluded me for years, although I’m much closer than I was in my youth. I guess we mellow out as we get older. Ya think?
We live in a world where nearly everything is almost instant or at least much reduced in time. Food preparation is a prime example. Travel is another. What about gathering information? Yep. The Internet comes to mind.
We’ve been waiting for almost 2,000 years for Jesus to return, and we’re still waiting. It doesn’t matter how much we long for it, or fuss about it, or debate it, He will come back when He is ready. He is coming back though, and I don’t think it will be another 2,000 years.
The Apostle Peter told us; “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4)
Isn’t it amazing that this is exactly what many folks are saying today? Now how about that! How did ole Peter know that? Someone must have told him.
I do believe we are in the last days of the Church age. I believe the Church will soon be called out of this world by Jesus Christ and taken to Heaven. Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:3-4)
Why is it taking so long we ask? Peter’s response to that question should really make us think and be a little bit more patient.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Based on Biblical prophesies and so many things in this world lining up perfectly with those prophecies, Jesus’ return may be closer than we think. I say ‘may’ because even though the signs are all around us, we are still not privy to the ‘when.’
Anyone who has seriously studied the prophetic verses of God’s Word knows that there are no signs for the Rapture. It will happen suddenly and without warning. However, there are many signs for the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture, and they are rapidly falling into place. There are also many Tribulation signs that will not appear until the Tribulation actually starts.
So we sit around day after day waiting for that blessed event of being called upward to be with our Savior and Lord, but wait, should we just sit around? I keep thinking about one particular thing that Peter said in his response; “Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” That puts a whole new slant to our impatience.
Have we ever given a thought to those who will miss the Rapture and instead face seven years of utter abject terror? Our world is currently in a mess that is getting worse by the day, but the Tribulation period will make our current situation seem like Mayberry on Main Street.
I think about family members, friends, others I know and those I don’t know having to face hell unleashed on earth, and I say to myself, “Lord I am anxiously awaiting your return, but if you delay so more can be saved, I’m all for it, and I’m ashamed of myself for not taking that into consideration. I need to get busy. What would you have me do?”
Have you ever been impatient with the slow driver in front of you, then realized that if you had been at a certain spot just a few minutes earlier, you would be in the wreck? Patience does have its virtues.
While we wait for our Lord’s return, there are many we could warn of what is up ahead and their need for Christ. Will they listen? Some will listen, and more than likely, most will not. Our part is to warn them and give them the Good News. The Holy Spirit will take over from there.
Our patience could also be served well by being patient with those we encounter. They are blind to the Truth and their eyes need to be opened.
Yes, Jesus will return, but think about this, while we move upward with Him to Heaven, many will be left behind to suffer. God’s wrath will be poured out upon this world while we, who are saved, will be enjoying His love and grace.