Lord Jesus come… but not just yet…

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1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Interesting passage. I appreciate the juxtaposition in v.3 of a “living hope” via resurrection of Jesus “from the dead”. From death comes life – a major theme of the New Testament. Then as children of God we have an inheritance “kept in heaven for you” (v.4). The inheritance is the promise of eternal life with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. The problem is that the Christians who originally received this letter from Peter were having to “suffer various trials” (v.6). The hope of “salvation” (v.5) was indeed just a hope at that time, something to look forward to in their future, not their present. The letter was written in part to encourage the believers to endure the hardships of their day.

I find it interesting that we’re still waiting for Jesus to return, to usher in the fullness of God’s kingdom in our world – 2,000 years after this letter was written. This morning I’m thinking, “What if Jesus comes today?” Would I welcome that? I’m strangely conflicted by this question. Yes, of course I would be glad for Jesus’ return. So much death and violence and sadness and injustice permeates our current reality. To experience a world in which those things are resolved once and for all would be amazing. A reunion with those who’ve died in the faith, whom I love, would be a joy.

But there’s another part of me wants more time. I’ve yet to see my children finish their educations, get married, have children of their own (should that be in the cards for them). I feel like the ministry I lead has a bright future that I’d like to see fulfilled. In 15-20 years I hope to retire, travel, visit my grandchildren. I would lament missing these things, even if there are hardships and struggles to endure in the process.

Lord Jesus, come. But not just yet. Amen.

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