You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to wait for his Son from heaven. (1 Thessalonians 1: 9-10)
Waiting on God in heaven and waiting for His Son from heaven- these two God has joined together, and no man may put them asunder. The waiting on God for His presence and power in daily life will be the only true preparation for waiting for Christ in humility and true holiness. The waiting for Christ coming from heaven to take us to heaven, will give the waiting on God it’s true tone of hopefulness and joy. The Father, who, in His own time, will reveal His Son from heaven, is the God who, as we wait on Him prepares us for the revelation of His Son. The present life and the coming glory are inseparably connected in God and in us.
It is always easier to be engaged with the Christianity of the past or the future than to be faithful in the Christianity of today. As we look to what God has done in the past, or will do in time to come, the personal claim of personal duty and present submission to His working may be avoided. Waiting on God must always lead to waiting for Christ as the glorious consummation of His work. And, waiting for Christ must always remind us of the duty of waiting upon God as our only proof that the waiting for Christ is in spirit and in truth.
There is such danger of our being more occupied with the things that are coming than with Him so is to come. Nothing but deeply humble waiting on God can save us from this mistake. Be sure that you wait on God now….while waiting for the revelation of His Son from heaven. The hope of that glorious appearing will strengthen you in waiting upon God for what He is to do in you now. The same omnipotent love that is to reveal that glory is working in you even now to prepare you for it.
It is easier, especially as one gets older to live in the past. Since the older we get the more of the past and the less of the future we have, reminiscing about the past can occupy much of our time. We remember how it used to be or at least how we remember it used to be and there is to some degree a longing to return to that perceived past. Those who are younger dream of the future for they have in front of them more future than past. Every child can’t wait to grow up so they can create their dream future. Sometimes some of our conflict is between those who have more past and those who have more future.
The issue with both those who live in the past and those who live in the future is that they often ignore the present. In the church there are many who may remember experiencing God in days gone by but have not done so in a long time so they revisit that past experience over and over. I think in some way that would be like driving by the restaurant where you had a great meal, pulling into the parking lot and remembering the flavor and smell of that meal but never going back inside and enjoying another meal. Many Christians tell about when they were saved but have no current story of connecting with God on a daily basis. Many churches can tell about past growth and past revivals and past moves of God but do not know a current time of experiencing people coming to God or experiencing a deeper walk with God.
There are others who have a dream of the future. They have a longing for Christ to return and take them to heaven so they will be free from the pressures of life. They occupy themselves looking for signs and indications of the coming of the Lord or some great revival that turns the hearts of nations to Christ. They are sure that somewhere in the future God is going to intervene and set all things right.
Truth of the matter is that neither group have no ability to recreate the past not create the future in the present. It is not what we have experienced nor what we will experience that is the question, but what are we experiencing in the here and now. If we have truly experienced God in the past, that experience moves us to desire experiencing Him again in the present and if we anticipate experiencing Him in the future we also desire to experience Him now. No true relationship is built on past or future but daily in the present as we live together, work together and communicate with one another. We don’t just rest on the experience of our wedding day and only remember that moment without any further experiences together nor do we wait till we retire to begin building the relationship. But every day through every event and moment we grow that relationship.
So it is with our relationship with God. I’m thankful for every experience I’ve ever had in my journey with God and I’m also thankful for that which is to come. In both my past and my future the connecting factor is Christ and what I do in my present relationship is the result of what I did in the past. Further, what I do in the present will affect what I experience in the future. The three, past, present, and future are inseparable and necessary. My past experience of salvation must lead to my present submission to Christ. My current obedience or disobedience to Christ’s commands will most certainly affect my future.
The parable of the talents tells us that how we are investing what God has provided us will matter in eternity.
For us who have a lot of past, let us stand on it while reaching for and embracing the coming future. Let it be used to remind us of what God can do but let it not hinder us from the present receiving of what God is doing.
As we look forward to all that God has waiting for us, let us not wait until then to enjoy all that He has for us now. I hear those who say they can’t wait to see heaven with all its splendor. They focus on the place and the provisions or perhaps the absence of the burdens of this world. I’m sure all of it will be wonderful but we can experience heaven on earth as we wait for the coming of Christ.
It is Christ in our past who sought us and redeemed us and made us His own. It will be Christ who comes for us and takes us home to heaven. But let us not forget that this same Christ can be in our present with us as the song says, “And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
May we know fully Christ now in this present moment and may our waiting on God now prepare us for His coming.
“But whatever former things were gains to me [as I thought then], these things [once regarded as advancements in merit] I have come to consider as loss [absolutely worthless] for the sake of Christ [and the purpose which He has given my life]. But more than that, I count everything as loss compared to the priceless privilege and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord [and of growing more deeply and thoroughly acquainted with Him—a joy unequaled]. For His sake I have lost everything, and I consider it all garbage, so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him [believing and relying on Him], not having any righteousness of my own derived from [my obedience to] the Law and its rituals, but [possessing] that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. And this, so that I may know Him [experientially, becoming more thoroughly acquainted with Him, understanding the remarkable wonders of His Person more completely] and [in that same way experience] the power of His resurrection [which overflows and is active in believers], and [that I may share] the fellowship of His sufferings, by being continually conformed [inwardly into His likeness even] to His death [dying as He did]; so that I may attain to the resurrection [that will raise me] from the dead.”
Dr. John Thompson