Christian Hope Waiting with confidence
If there is something most of us could do without, it is waiting!
The dentist’s waiting room, the queue in Tesco’s, the doctor’s appointment, the plumber to come …. You name it – waiting is a pain. Patience is a greatly undervalued characteristic in days of ‘Buy now, pay later.’ Two bible translations of 1 Thessalonians 1:10 illustrate different ways of looking at Jesus’ return. The NLT puts it:
‘You are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven.’
The NIV gives it as ‘wait for his Son from heaven.’
There is a huge difference between ‘waiting’ – which sounds boring, and ‘looking forward to’ which carries an air of excitement.
When thinking of Jesus’ return, which translation fits you?
v 18. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
In the early days of the Church, when Paul was alive and visiting the ones he had helped to establish, there was a very positive expectation that Jesus would return any time soon. That feeling had become so strong in Thessalonica that some people had even given up working. Paul writes in 2 Thess 3:12 ‘ We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.’
They were also worried about what happens to Christian believers who die before Jesus’ return, and Paul makes it clear that they will not lose out in any way. Thinking properly about that day should be encouraging in some way rather than worrying.
Death is not therefore something over which to grieve. Certainly we miss our Christian family or friends when they die – in fact we often miss them very acutely – but that is very different from the sadness and grief which others might feel. The day of Jesus return – at a time that cannot be predicted – will see a coming together of all Christian believers whether still living on that day or risen from the grave. The same destiny awaits all, ‘Then we will be with the Lord forever. ‘ v 17.
Whatever else you may think about death, Heaven or Jesus’ return, be encouraged. Don’t just be waiting, be looking forward!