We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
Dear God, I confess that I really don’t know what to do with the second coming stuff. Something about it really seems to encourage some people. I tend to find it to be more of a distraction. I guess my attitude is, hey, I’m running a marathon down here and someone is trying to tell me there’s a chance that the finish line MIGHT be just around the corner. Well, how does that help me now? I just want to keep plugging away.
Granted, the marathon I’m running is pretty easy compared to the races others must run. Even as I type this, I’m literally lying on the beach on vacation. So maybe these are encouraging words to someone whose race is harder than mine.
And really, don’t we kind of believe that the dead in Christ are already with you? Didn’t Moses appear at the Transfiguration? Don’t we run for the cloud of witnesses. Don’t we tell stories of those who die briefly having seen a glimpse of the afterlife? Is this where time meets timelessness?
See? It’s all a distraction. I could chase these questions all of the way to a logical end and the answers won’t get me any closer to accomplishing the tasks you have given to me.
Father, the last sentence says that we are to encourage each other with these words. Help me to be an encourager. Help me to strengthen others and to be strengthened through them. Help me to know what’s important and demands my thoughtful meditation and what is a distraction. And if I’m wrong about this particular issue and it is more important than I think it is, reveal it to me and teach me that too.
In Jesus’ name I pray,