Countdown

Description

No one knows the day when the Lord will return, but we should await his arrival with eager anticipation.

When I was growing up, my cousins moved eight hours away. I remember weeping on their stairs the day before they left, unable to picture my life without the almost-daily visits between our two families.

But road trips and extended visits were promised, so the "countdowns" began. My sisters and I made long paper chain links and broke off one link every day. We scratched big red Xs on the calendar for months.

Whenever it came down to the last few weeks before their arrival, we went half-crazy with anticipation. We imagined that our house was a grand hotel, and we were the "merry maids" preparing for the arrival of our special guests. We wore aprons around the house and scribbled little menu cards out for the meals in imitation of fancy restaurants. Chores became fun—we scrubbed the house top to bottom, put flowers in our guest room, pored over handmade cards and little gifts for each person, and planned out all the fun games we wanted to play when they came.

On the day of their expected arrival, we'd put on our prettiest dresses. In spite of Mom's reminders about the length of the drive ("Girls, I'm sure they haven't even left yet!"), we'd keep drifting back to our kitchen window every hour. (Who cares about mathematical probability anyway when you're a kid?) Every time we finally spotted their green van turn slowly around the corner, there were screams of girlish joy and a blur of six bare feet racing out the front door.

When I feel the prick of longing for people I'm separated from—and when I smile at the thought of spending time with them again—it makes me think of another reunion.

As the sun sets tonight, it's one day closer to the day I'm going to meet my most constant, faithful friend. It's one day closer to the moment when I'm finally going to see my Lord Jesus face-to-face and fall down before His beautiful nail-scarred feet.

I'll be with the One who loved me when I hated Him. The Alpha and Omega died to free me so I could be one with Him, worshiping in the eternal joy of His presence. He's always loved me faithfully—never wavering, forgetting, or becoming fed up with impatience—even when my heart has sought after others. Soon now, my every moment will be spent in the incomprehensible, constantly-increasing delight of beholding Him and adoring Him. We'll never be separated again.

I'll be His entirely.

The countdown is on.  

I don't know what day He's coming for me. (He wants it to be a surprise. He likes those.) He could call me at any time, while I'm on the road tomorrow or at home in my bed tonight. If He doesn't call me first, He's going to come Himself and whisk me up into His arms. It could be any day now, did you know? Any day. Any moment. That's literal, not exaggeration; He said so Himself. 

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matthew 24:36–44).

What if we took Jesus' words seriously? What if we lived in imminent expectation and excitement for His return? What if we said "Come Lord Jesus" every day—and meant it? Believed it really could happen at any time? What if we savored daydreams of Him, using our God-given imaginations to meditate on His perfection?

How would it change the way we spoke and thought and used our time if we were counting down?

I'm putting on my best dress and an apron. I don't want to be napping when He gets here.  I want to be busy preparing—loving Him, loving others.

And always drifting back to the window.

I can hardly wait.

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