Have you ever planned something a long time in advance, like 18 months or more, and then it came time for the event, and you almost missed the fun and excitement of it in the worry and concern about details?
I admit that I am a hopeless planner. When our daughter got married, I had lists to keep track of the lists — the overarching list was of things that had to be done and then the other individual lists of each of those things with detailed points to be checked off as the task was completed.
If a trip is being discussed, I will have a list, usually in Excel, where each day is outlined, things to do are identified along with address and phone number, hours of operation and sometimes even the cost of admission. If a day has 3 or 4 events, I am a happy camper. My lists are not set in concrete. If something else looks interesting, we can and should do that, but in case we can’t find anything else, I have my lists. I don’t want to have empty time … fill it up and then eat!
I can rationalize this mania for lists, of course, but the reality is that sometimes, in the preparation and scheduling, I miss the point. When she got married, we were celebrating this creation of a new home and were asking God to bless it with His presence and guidance through the years to come. When we are going on a vacation with our children and grandchildren, we want to forge memories, to tell stories of how God has been involved in our lives through the years, to pass the torch from generation to generation. That’s what important, not what schedule we will have or whether the event goes along without a hitch.
When I get lost in the detail, I forget the big picture and sometimes I run the risk of missing it entirely.
This characteristic of mine makes me think of the Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jesus’ day. They kept the rules; they taught the dos and don’ts; they were zealous for God. But they missed Him when He came. The Old Testament has numerous prophesies about the Messiah, and these teachers could read the verses from Isaiah and Psalms and probably quote them by heart, but they were so lost in the details of dogma that they missed the important One.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Their preoccupation with the rules and details of what they expected resulted in them missing the Messiah’s coming. Even more than that, it resulted in the actual rejection of the very One they said they were waiting for.
They rejected Him when He did not fit the mold they were expecting.
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
They were waiting, as they were told to do so in the Old Testament, but they were not waiting expectantly … in short, they r-e-a-l-l-y didn’t think anything was going to happen. They did not expect the Savior to be born, certainly not on their watch! He would certainly not come as Jesus did, so they rejected His message and His life – they set out to kill him and, ultimately, they did so.
In today’s world, we are still waiting for the Lord, but this time it is for His second coming. This time it is waiting for Him, when He will usher in the end of time and the beginning of our eternity. We are told to wait for Him and He promised that He would come again.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.”
Matthew 25:13. 31
He said that He would come back. Do we wait expectantly for our Lord to return?
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
Are we weighed down with the cares of this life so that His second coming is nowhere on our radar screen?
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. … Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Luke 21:27, 33-36
Are we longing to see Him and to leave this world behind for the life we will have with Him in heaven?
I may be able to list out the details of a wedding or a trip, but I cannot list the details of the second coming of my Lord and Savior. I can, however, trust what He says in Scripture. The details of this incredible event are unimportant to me here and now. I don’t need to know all the ins and outs of the details. Those are in God’s hands. The fact that Jesus will return is based on the truth of Scripture.
God’s Word is true. Unless my body quits and I die first (at which time I will be met by my Lord in heaven), Jesus will return and take me to join the Church Triumphant. Praise His holy Name!
Lord, may I be so in tune with You and your Word that I don’t get caught up in the detail but I rest in You and your righteousness, love, mercy and grace. May I not get so entwined with the goods, activities and cares of this world that I forget to watch and prepare for your return. Thank you Lord for salvation and the blessing of your Word and for the security and truth of your promises!