For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Their question came as predictably as the sunrise. It didn't matter where we drove. The park for a picnic, the zoo on the other side of the city, the grandparents on the other side of the country . . . before we had been very long on the road a mournful cry rose from their seats: "Are we there yet?" Over and over our children asked it; Every few minutes (or so it seemed). I remember turning to look at them. "Soon," I assured them. "Very soon, and we'll be there."I understood their excitement. Their lives rambled along with carefree simplicity. One day followed another, snug within the safety and love of our home. A broken dolly? No problem; daddy will fix it. Skinned your knee? Let me kiss it better.
When I took the time to see life through their eyes, I caught glimpses of a freshness and vitality left behind in my own childhood, an effervescence which somehow and at sometime receded behind my "maturity." Not that there is anything wrong with maturity - I suppose. Except when it reduces childlike eagerness to a ho-hum yawn.
But every so often I sense within me a curious excitement straining for rebirth. Perhaps it is because I now realize I cannot fix every broken dolly, or soothe every hurting knee that I catch myself asking Him, with increasing frequency, "Are we there, yet?" Over and over. Every few minutes.
Or so it seems.
Yes. I know the fields are "white already to harvest." I understand why we must work while we can before the "the night cometh, when no man can work." These truths, and others, float around in my mind, compelling me to teach, to share, to exhort. But my heart . . . oh, sometimes my heart longs as a child for that Day when Daddy will fix it.
Are we there yet, Lord? How much longer will it be? How many more days or even months must we wait until creation itself ceases its groaning? How much longer until You welcome your children home?
And then sometimes . . .every so often . . . if I listen carefully enough I can almost hear Him say it: "Soon. Very soon, and we'll be there."
Oh, Lord Jesus! Come quickly.