I find myself praying more than ever for Jesus to return. There are at least two reasons I long for redemption these days like never before.
First, I long for heaven. I think I have a better view of heaven than I have had before. I know that everything good is an echo of heaven–news from a far-off country. The good I enjoy on earth is not in the things I love, so much as it is through them (read Lewis’s The Weight of Glory and you’ll know what I mean). I used to want to experience and accomplish a few things down here before Jesus’s return, back when I was under the impression that heaven was, well, perfection–but sort of a static, boring type of perfection. I am now convinced that heaven is an unspoiled world of adventure and love and a feast to the senses, all culminating in the heavenly one, Jesus. Everything I love, I love because it is a window to heaven.
The second reason I pray for Jesus to return is that the horrors of our world seem to hit me differently than before. I’m shocked by the acts, but not by the evil. Maybe it’s that I’m in my mid-thirties now and perhaps the cumulative effect of tragedies is a reduced hope in worldly solutions. The inhuman slaughter across my Twitter feed these days is nauseating, especially the crimes against the unborn and infants. How did we get so far from God’s heart? The brokenness of our world is more apparent to me, and more abhorrent to me, than ever.
Boston. Like after 9/11, some of us are alive to a part of our heart that is often dormant. I think it’s only in times like this that many of us even realize we have an innate need for justice–for righteousness. In our usual routines and rhythms we slip into thinking that God should look the other way about sin until something wounds our own people and breaks our own hearts. Then we realize what a violation evil is and we awaken to it: we need justice. Not economic social justice. Someone-has-to-pay-for-this-crime justice. We need Jesus, who did pay for it, and is the only one who can judge with righteousness.
“Jesus, just end this. Come back. Wipe all this away.”
I prayed this prayer last week, as I often do. And God showed me something. I suddenly felt God’s heart of compassion. In my spirit I saw rain coming. A hard, hard rain that blocked out the sun. I saw Noah stepping out of his ark and waving his hands, motioning inward. He’s yelling desperately, “Come in! Come in!”
God doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants us all to come into Jesus and be safe from the storm that will wipe away all evil. He waits because he loves us. It’s his mercy that stays his hand. He wants his beloved people, victims and perpetrators, to unbind themselves from evil which is bound for destruction.
Jesus is the perfect embodiment of justice and mercy. He embodies justice because he shows there is a price that must be paid for sin. He embodies mercy because he paid it.
The next flood is coming, and I pray it comes soon and with it, the complete fulfillment of the righteousness we were made for. Until then, if you’re not in Jesus, respond to his compassion. Be released from the evil you have embraced. Say yes to him. He longs to pluck you from the kingdom of darkness and give you a home forever in the kingdom of the Son he loves.
April 17, 2013
They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…
– 2 Peter 3:4-9, 15