Have you heard it? Scattered all throughout the New Testament, this whisper, this call, this command? Almost every time Jesus gives us a taste of the end-times, it’s there, echoing again and again through the other noises.
Because, honestly, there’s a lot of other clamor going on. There’s the ever-pounding drum of wars and rumors of wars. There’s the ominous hiss of false christs rising up. There’s the great cry of the sun going out, the moon going black, and the stars tumbling down from their perches.
And though some of that is reserved solely for the very end of the story, already around us we see the rising. The fear, the hate, the violence — rumors of wars? Why, there are wars going on that we only hear rumors of.
It’s coming. That great disaster, that great calamity, the days of vengeance (Luke 21:22). And though I believe that the Church will not have to endure those days of God’s wrath poured out on the unrepentant world, we know life here will only get worse before it gets better. We know that we will still suffer great things. We’ve been told that it’s all coming (John 15:18-20; Matt. 24:9).
So what should we do? Stockpile our guns, go off the grid, and build underground bunkers?
Should we gather our forces and sally out against our foes, fighting fire with fire? Has Jesus given us a strategic-forces lay-out for attack, or at least the map to a hidden cave to stay safe from all the world is throwing at us?
No AK-47’s, no MRE’s, no hidden bunkers. That’s not what He’s given us. That’s not what He tells us to do.
He simply commands us: Watch.
Because we’re called to be in but not of. We’re called to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies. But we’re called to do this because we’re watching.
Because when you’re watching for Jesus to come, you ensure that all your work — all your life — is done unto the Lord, recognizing that it might end at any moment.
And this seems like a bit of a conundrum. Why bother working, if your job will be interrupted at any moment? If you’re to be halted in the middle, why even begin at all?
But I think we’re looking at it all the wrong way. Just because a show may be halted does not mean that it should never start. To borrow C. S. Lewis’ analogy, the characters in the show don’t know what act they’re in, and to them the finale of the show — very proper and correct and fulfilling to us who are outside, watching the whole movie — is utterly abrupt, in the middle of their lives, and perhaps unwanted.
Though it seems in the middle of great works to the character, the purpose of the show has been fulfilled. And so the show ends.
And that’s how it will be.
Because the purpose of this story, of the whole history of the world, has never been our projects. It’s never been our deeds. It’s never been in our ladders, in our accolades, in our cultures, or in our pedestals. Even good causes aren’t the purpose of this story.
No, the purpose in any work — be it classes, changing diapers, or creating jobs — is not the work itself. Yes, all those things are good and nice, but they won’t last. Because our purpose — the whole story’s purpose — is to glorify God. “This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Lev. 10:3).
What good is mastering calculus, what good is raising children, what good is bettering others when you stand before the throne? Only this — that you’ve brought glory to His name.
In that day, none of our grand schemes, none of our wonderful plans will be of any use; “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Is. 2:17).
Why do we work heartily in all that we do? To bring Him glory.
Why do we turn the other cheek and love others? To bring Him glory.
Why do we raise up our children in the way they should go? So that we (and they) can bring Him glory. Because He alone is worthy.
So we don’t have to be concerned that our work might be cut short at any moment. If we are doing it correctly — to glorify Him — then it will be completed when He determines, not a moment too early or too late, to His glory.
And so we work while we watch.
And we hear the warning, the urgency in this whisper. Any moment now, perhaps before tonight, perhaps before we’re done reading — He could be back. Be ready! “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pet. 4:7). “In every moment, let us walk worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10).
But I wonder if perhaps, just perhaps, we can also hear a note of excitement in this one-word call as well. A hint of eager anticipation, a call to look.
Because think of a father, who gently shakes awake his child in the early darkness. The child sleepily follows him outside, rubbing his eyes as the cold air greets his face. The father crouches down beside him, hand on his shoulder, as he points at the farthest hill, its outline barely appearing in the dark eastern sky.
“Watch!” he whispers. A glimmer, a little brightening, but not much more. Suddenly, the glorious sunrise bounds up, throwing away all darkness and night, beckoning all the birds to sing for joy and the clouds to burst forth with color.
And I think that may be a bit how Jesus’ return may be too. Those wars and rumors of wars are that first glimmering on the hill, but the end is not yet. But suddenly, in a moment, the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:2) shall bound up in glory, throwing away all sin and death and pain, beckoning us to sing with all the church the song of the Lamb, and telling the new earth to burst forth into abundant life.
But that moment is not yet.
It’s coming. That great victory, that great celebration, when all things become new (2 Cor. 5:17). We know that we shall be kings and priests and rulers. We’ve been told that it’s all coming. So what should we do?
Jesus puts His hand on our shoulder, points to the distant skyline of the future, and tells us, “Watch.”
And so let us be working, let us be warned, and let us wonder.
But above all, brothers and sisters, let us watch.
Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section!
There are currently __ Comment(s)
There are currently __ Comment(s)
Isabelle, this is the most impactful article to me that we’ve published on TheReb in a long time. I’m serious. This line: “What good is mastering calculus, what good is raising children, what good is bettering others when you stand before the throne? Only this — that you’ve brought glory to His name.” I just needed this so much. Thank you, friend.
Thank you so very much my dear friend, you have no idea how much that means to me! Thank *you* for always encouraging and enabling me to run harder after Him both in my writing and my life!
Beautiful article, Isabelle!
Wow, what a powerful article! So, so true! “But above all… let us watch.” Thanks for this reminder Isabelle! 🙂
Thank you for your kind words! Honestly, this was a reminder to myself just as much as anyone else! 😉
*AK-47 ;D #Sorry #GunNut
lol, whoops! I have disappointed all the Texan parts of me… 😀
XD no worries 😉
But alas, look again – that’s exactly what Isabelle put in. *angelic smile* (To @BelleIngalls:disqus: *whispers* The editor’s got your back, sister…)
*whispers* The editor sees all. The editor knows all. The editor fixes all! (Thanks sister! <3 :D)
*cough, cough* Um, yes, exactly what I put in there. We both must have just mis-read it the first time! @GuitarwithArms:disqus
Lol!! Smooooooth, smooth XD
I love this article Isabelle! I love the way you write! I love the way you illustrated the childish excitement of Jesus coming back. I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning reading this article 😀 It gave me goose bumps!
On a side note, you mentioned that you believed that the church wouldn’t have to endure God’s wrath in those days. I was wondering if you (or anyone else reading this) have any book recommendations on that subject. I’m not really sure what I believe in that area but I would like to be a little more knowledgeable in the ways I can watch 🙂
You are a very talented writer Isabelle! Thank you!
Thank you so much lovely lady!
I actually can’t think of any titles off the top of my head (I believe generally this idea is defined as Pre-Trib Rapture, but I shied away from that term because I don’t want to make a debate not everyone agrees on a side-track from my actual point :D) Is it alright if I do a bit of research to find you some resources and get back to you?
I was hesitant to ask for that same reason and I didn’t want to start any arguments 😀 (It is such a controversial subject.)
I have been thinking about the end times for a while and I recently watched all the Left Behind movies on a long road trip I had to take. Obviously, I don’t want to get my doctrine from movies lol. It’s just had me thinking.
That is so nice of you! That would be great, but if it is to much trouble don’t worry about it!
No worries! I enjoy discussing these things sometimes, as it’s always good to hear everyone’s different side on the topic (and I have people I respect on both sides), and both to wrestle it out for yourself. And besides, discussion is good, since Iron sharpeneth iron!
lol, yes, movies are nice, but I’m hesitant to label them as good forms of theology 😀 (Confession, I honestly never have gotten around to reading that series, even thought I keep thinking I should…)
I asked my pastor real quick, and he recommended “When Will Jesus Come?” by Dave Hunt. However, I’d also enjoy explaining my position and hearing your thoughts in person/screen/however-we-communicate-online-now, if you’d be interested, although I’m not sure if comments is the best place? (Facebook DM perhaps, if that’s alright with you and your parents?)
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Belle! This was such a good reminder for me and it also confirmed some things God has been gently teaching me. 🙂
No, thank you! 😉 I’m glad God often can use the smallest of things to use to His purpose!
Thanks so much for this article, Isabelle. It’s wonderful, and such a wonderful reminder of why I am REALLY on this earth. It is easy for me to be caught up in the day to day life, and the Lord has been showing me to look beyond what I am doing to why, and it has been eye-opening. Thanks for the reminder.
Yes, it’s so awe-inspiring sometimes to think of the huge, wonderful, magnificent story that we are all a part of, even though our day-to-day lives seem little sometimes. But the neat thing is, that those little things are actually the threads that make up the biggest story! Thank you for reading, keep following after Jesus!
This was such a good article, Belle! Thank you for the reminder to glorify God in all we do! Like you said, it can be easy to think that the mundane things we do in our day to day lives won’t matter into eternity, but if we’ve glorified God through those tasks, then we have succeeded in fulfilling our God given purpose here on earth.
Thanks Kaitlyn! *hugs* It’s always so comforting to be reminded that God sees when we are faithful with very little, and will ultimately tell us, “Well done.” (Mat 25:21)
I really like this article, most movies about the end times focus most on the darkness that is coming, but I love that your article really focused on God and Jesus and the great things that are to happen someday and rather than to worry, watch. 😀
Yes! So often we can caught up with the fearing of endings, but the beautiful reality is that as Christians, that is just the beginning of the most wonderful, awe-inspiring story that lasts on into all eternity!
Isabelle, I adore the way you write. This was a fabulous article. Well done! I really needed this reminder in my life right now. Thank you 🙂
Thank you. So. Very. Much! <3 I'm glad God used it to encourage you!
Belle, this is so good. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot – how to make individual moments matter, in a larger way, and you summed it up so well. Thank you!
Thanks Katherine! *hugs* “How to make the individual moments matter, in a larger way” (love that phrasing, btw) and yet also realizing that our larger ways might just be found in the individual moments. Thank you for always helping me on this journey following Jesus!
This was really interesting and beautiful. Thank you so much for writing! It’s kind of ironic that when we think of all that we HAVE to do before Jesus comes,we get overwhelmed. The simplicity is kind of mind blowing.
Thank you! And it is so mind-blowing, just the thought that our job is simple — to glorify Him. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!
It’s good to be reminded of this every so often. Thank you for writing this!
Amen, sister! What a great reminder to always be prepared and ready to meet our Lord! We do not know when that time will come, but when it does it will be ” in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:52a) and like a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5).
So yes, I will join you in watching and fixing my eyes upon the distant horizon where Christ will return for His Bride. Maranatha! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Kristin | http://www.soifixmyeyes.com
Yes, and Amen!
The finish line is one of the most encouraging things I haven’t yet encountered! Knowing that when the time comes, all our work will be rewarded… amazing. Thanks for this post! http://www.secondlymag.com
Yes, it’s such a wonderful truth! Keeping fighting the good fight, running the good race, until finally we get to see Him face-to-face!
Great article! Thanks for writing it Isabel.
Thank you, it’s something God has been reminding me of late!
Wow. Beautiful and true. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, for your kind words and for reading!
Beautifully written and said, fantastic Isabelle!
Thank you so very much!
Wow! Very encouraging! Thank you! 🙂
Well, this is awesome. Really well written, and a super exciting subject, thanks for this!
This is inspirational, Isabelle! 🙂 A good reminder for all of us who believe and await his coming. Thanks for sharing!
This is really well written. Thank you for sharing Isabelle. It gave me a lot to think about 🙂