There are times when I can relate to John the Revelator. Oh, I can’t relate to being an eyewitness to Jesus feeding 5,000 hungry men with a boy’s lunch or seeing Jesus on the cross. Neither can I put myself in his shoes when all his fellow disciples had been martyred and he was exiled to Patmos (my Kansas friends think being in Flint is like being “exiled” to Patmos, but they are wrong. I like it here). And I surely have never seen the visions of heaven and glory that he describes in the Revelation. So how are John and I alike?
Well, we both have a brother (like John and James my brother and I would fight a little when we were younger). I can appreciate John’s convenient placement in God’s Holy Word how he outran Peter to the empty tomb (see John 21:4). I’ve been known to trash talk on occasion too. But I can really relate to John’s heart’s longing and cry in the next to last verse in the Bible when he simply writes, “Come, Lord Jesus.” There are times this week when I have said that too.
As you know I deal with some chronic pain issues (Shameless plug alert: If you haven’t read my book, Chronic Pain, or given it to someone who also battles chronic pain type of junk, what are you waiting for? But I digress…). Lately, I’ve been a little more headachy than normal and a little more aware of my frailties. I don’t know why. I think our lovely Michigan weather has something to do with it. Adding to my prayer list as you know there have been a boatload of troubles (more like a “fleet of cargo ships load of troubles”) in the news this week: riots in Baltimore; the Supreme Court’s hearing arguments in the same sex marriage debate; Iranian aggression in the Strait of Hormuz; ISIS murderous assault on Christians and others; and an earthquake in Nepal. Like you, I have friends who are facing surgeries and doctors have used the word “cancer” to describe some of their ailments. Others have troubles in their homes. Sin has wreaked havoc in the lives of so many people. All of these things have left me saying like John the Revelator, “Come Lord Jesus!” In fact, the sooner the better, please come.
I’m so ready for Jesus to make all things new. With John I look forward to the vision that he saw and described in Revelation 21:
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:2-4)
Doesn’t that sound good? Please, please come! Even as I write these words there is a big part of me that is glad that Jesus hasn’t answered John’s or my prayer to come just yet. While I long to be in the place with no “mourning, crying or pain,” I have loved ones that don’t know Jesus. I have friends that if Jesus were to come right now would not be ready for His return. So I’m torn, but not so torn. I want Him to return for my sake. I want Him to delay for their sake. So if it means that our loved ones will find Jesus as he delays His return, then my prayer is “take your time Lord Jesus, take your time.”
It seems that Jesus takes serious what He inspired Peter to write: “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). So I should take it serious too. As we wait His return, I have determined to do everything I can to see “everyone come to repentance.” As long as I have breath in spite of headaches and riots and earthquakes and living in a post-Christian America, I want to work, pray, invite and share a cool cup of water with all who are thirsty. I want to make a difference for Jesus until He comes! So like John I say, “Come Lord Jesus whenever the time is right.”