While we live in this earthly tent, we groan with a feeling of oppression; it is not that we want to get rid of our earthly body, but that we want to have the heavenly one put over us, so that what is mortal will be transformed by life. God is the one who has prepared us for this change, and he gave us his Spirit as the guarantee of all that he has in store for us. (verses 4,5)
If there’s a downside to knowing that we have eternal life it’s that we get impatient. Why doesn’t Jesus return?
It’s easy to ask, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come’. It seems human to want to shake off this earthly life for eternal life with God which we know is ours. Since we all want this, why doesn’t God let it happen?
Peter makes it clear why God hasn’t ‘ended it all’ yet. ‘[The Lord] is patient with you, because he does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants all to tum away from their sins'(2 Peter 3:9).
God waits for us to finish the task of taking the gospel to all, so that all have the opportunity ‘to turn away from their sins’. This is an important part of the task Jesus gave us when he told us to be his witnesses. There are still so many, right where we live, who need to hear this good news. If it takes a thousand years to do this – well, in God’s terms, what’s another day?
But, in human terms, it’s much more urgent than that. We need to reach out to people now, as if there is no tomorrow.
So, when we feel like crying out, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, come’, we need to remember what it is that will bring him. And we need to get on with the job.
Father, I long to be with you in eternal life. Give me a sense of urgency to share the gospel with people who so desperately need to hear it. Amen.
by Robert Turnbull, in ‘Renewed Hope for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 2000)
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