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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Caught up in the air


2020 has wreaked havoc – worldwide, continent-wide, state-wide, county-wide and for me somedays, home-wide. I’m guessing many of you can relate.  About six weeks into the pandemic I found myself sitting on my front porch, just waiting for a trumpet to blow.  “Surely, Jesus is on his way to come get me,” I’d think, as I sat there in my weary state.

Seriously, I’ve never anticipated His return more than now. What a sweet reward, after all this suffering, to hear the melodious sound and be caught up in the air with him.  The pandemic, hate, violence, child trafficking and…. the list of evils that fill our headlines could go on for days. I may or may not have suggested to Jesus that this would be a good time for his return. What would he do without my suggestions?

I had the privilege lately to have a conversation with a young man who was feeling fear about worldwide issues. He told me that as a child, when things were scary in the world, his mom would quote Revelation to him. He was young then and the things she spoke of were scary to him. Now, as a grown man, seeing all the signs of the times around him, his mama’s voice and the scriptures of Revelation are replaying in his mind. From our conversation, I sensed that he was not a believer and had real fear. I had the opportunity to offer him some resources to help him understand these scriptures better and to deliver the good news that, Christians are promised a quick trip to paradise before all those scary things in Revelation take place. I hope he ponders this more and makes that very important decision to get aboard the glory train with me one day.

My conversation with him, put the “longing,” that was already in motion in my heart, into high gear. Talk of the End Times doesn’t scare me. I say simply…  “BRING IT”!  For the Christian (that’s me and please oh please, I hope it is you too) this rapture is our big moment. It’s the thing we’ve been standing in line for. You know that line, right? The one in the hot blazing sun, with a full bladder, dressed in a parka, for hours on end all while clutching a one-way ticket to paradise! The big show – the glorious moment we have waited and longed for.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel… (now let’s just stop right there. The voice of an archangel? Surely, this must be the best sound in the world. Better than a baby’s giggle, the ping of a sealed canning jar or the whispered “I love you” from your soulmate. This must be a voice that will perk our ears like no other.) …and with the trumpet call of God. (first the melodious voice of the archangel and then a trumpet call – you just can’t make this stuff up) …. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together, with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up on the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Those that have died before us will have resurrected bodies – just as Jesus did when he rose on the third day. They will meet their soul in the sky alongside those believers who are still alive, who will be caught up, body and soul to meet the Lord! 

What an exciting moment that will be. To read this, you would think this would take a long time. I often wonder if we will be somewhat like balloons drifting slowly up to heaven, waving to each other as we go and marveling at how good so and so looks to have been dead for so long. But on the contrary, we won’t even have time to revel in the magnificence of the moment. We won’t have time to be frightened or excited or any other kind of an emotion. I know this because 1 Corinthians 15:52 says – It will happen in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Try to measure that. I double dog dare ya! You just can’t measure the twinkle of an eye. That is how quick our Savior will come back and rescue us from this corrupt world.

But the best part of that Thessalonians verse is…Then we will be with the Lord forever. Like an epic movie with no ending – we just keep on living in paradise. Never more to suffer. No evil. No pain. No disappointment. No tears. Bring it – I say – Bring it!

It’s easy to look at our world today and think that surely this must be the end of time. However, I’m sure those Christians who struggled through the Bubonic plague, World War 1, the Holocaust and so many other scary times in history, must have thought the same thing.

Jesus tells us himself in Matthew 24:42 – “So you, too, must keep watch. For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming.”

So, I remove myself from the porch and I keep watch. Like the old adage says; good things come to those who wait. I can’t think of a greater reward for our waiting. In the meantime, while we keep our ear attuned for the trumpet sound, we must keep our nose to the grindstone. There are a couple of things we must do and they both pertain to a four-letter word – L O V E.

First, we mustn’t fear. I must admit – the thought of losing the familiar and not experiencing the joys of this future life (like grandkids and witnessing the successes of my children) can get me a bit weepy and second guessing my suggestion to Jesus that he come back soon. But then…heaven. Paradise. Seriously, can it get any better than that? Surely heaven will be even better than grandkids. So, I need not be afraid. 1 John 4:18 says: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. Perfect love is the love that happened on that day at Calvary, when he took my sins to the cross. The blood shed for me and you that day by our Savior is the perfect form of love taking the punishment for our sins. This kind of love drives out fear. When you feel fearful, remember that this perfect love – this gift given to us – protects us from fear.  What a relief. We are made complete because of this love. 1 John 4:4 says: Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world.  If he is in us – who or what can be against us?  (Hint: no one/nothing/nadda/zilch/zero)

Secondly, walk in obedience. 2 John 6 says: This is love that we walk in obedience to His commands. He sets guidelines for us to live our best lives. Optimum living is his goal for us. The verse goes on to say; As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. What a world it would be if we just followed this simple command – to walk in love. We wouldn’t long for a trumpet blast – that’s for sure. There wouldn’t be a need. Heaven would be here on earth. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of disobedience. So, as Christians, it’s our duty to show His love to others by walking in obedience to his command to love. He’s given us stuff to do, for his kingdom, while we wait for his return. That’s so “dad-ish” of him isn’t it?

His perfect love is for us all. If we respond to the wait by acting in love, we assist him in gathering his sheep for that glorious day ahead. In my Father’s house there are many rooms (I stole that line from Jesus –it’s true). He wants us all to be caught up with him on that day of rapture. There is much work to do while we wait. We walk in love, keep our ear attuned for the trumpet and our eyes ever watching; we remain busy!

Forgive my “punniness,” but I think it’s fair to say that if you get “caught up in his love” for you – you will one day get “caught up with his love” when he calls you home.  Have no fear friends. Keep watch and walk in his love!  See you after the twinkle!