I’m sure there was a lot of confusion. Jesus and the Apostles preached Jesus’ imminent return. And then He didn’t.
In today’s Bible reading, Paul sets the record straight with these encouraging words.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For we say this to you by a word from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout,, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are still alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (CSB)
Paul tells the Thessalonians that it may look like Jesus has broken His promise, but He hasn’t. He will return. There is hope! But here’s the thing: God isn’t limited by time. His soon could be two days. Or it could be five hundred million years.
It’s a good thing that Jesus didn’t tell us when He will return. Otherwise, we’d all live like the devil, knowing when we could come back and “get the slate cleaned up” just before He returns. Yes, all of us would do that because that’s what our unredeemed nature wants to do anyway. All day. Every day.
Don’t be discouraged when you groan for this life to be over and you can cross over to the other side of eternity. Creation groans for its redemption. And so do we. (Romans 8:22-23)
So just trust. Believe. And actively wait.
This devotional was originally published November 17, 2019.