Article

Myron Madden

is one of the 2014 summer interns at Adventist Review.

​The Second Coming: It’s Not Fair

I don’t want Jesus to come back.”

I gaped at my friend as if she had just told me she’d killed a man. Where did that come from?

A moment earlier she had been talking about how great her new boyfriend was. But in a matter of seconds her whole demeanor had changed. The upbeat, bright-faced girl standing before me was now serious. Contemplative. Worried.

“What do you mean, ‘you don’t want Jesus to come back’?” I whispered as if God would overhear and smite us both.

“I mean . . . I want Him to come back . . . just not now. Not in my lifetime.”

“Why not?”

“Because I want to live my life!” she groaned. “I want to get married. Have kids. If God comes now or 10 years from now, I’m going to miss out on all that.”

I furrowed my brow. “I’m confused. Isn’t heaven better than pretty much everything on earth?”

“Maybe,” she shrugged. “But it’s not fair! My parents got to get married and live life, so of course they’re ready for God to come, but I haven’t done anything yet!” She quickly brushed away a tear. “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”

Not Yet Ready

For years this conversation bugged me. I couldn’t understand why my friend believed God was punishing her by coming soon, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to stay on this miserable planet longer than they had to.

In retrospect . . . during the time my friend confessed her feelings about the Second Coming, I was in high school—and those were not good years for me. I had given up on all hope of finding love because I was scrawny and gruesome. I was bullied, and I couldn’t make more than a handful of friends. I knew I was intelligent, but had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do with my life, which left me feeling useless and stupid. Unlike my friend, I had very little tying me to earth. The future seemed bleak and painful, and I was ready for God to return and save me from it.

How can we truly be ready for the Second Coming if we don’t really want Christ to return?

I couldn’t truly understand my friend’s woes until I was in college. During winter break my junior year I went home for the holidays. I grew up in a house next to a highway, and I had gotten used to the occasional blast of truck horns. On one particular night, however, just as I was dozing off, I heard the great roar of a horn through my bedroom window.

Being somewhat lost in slumber and not as familiar with the sound as I had once been, I mistook the horn for the mighty trumpets announcing the arrival of the Almighty. I should have leaped to my feet and cried “Hallelujah!” But instead I froze in fear. I wasn’t ready.

Since high school I had discovered my career path and made a name for myself in college. I was barreling toward the exciting world of journalism, and I had a job I loved so much that my girlfriend called it my mistress. Life had finally taken a turn for me, and I wanted to see where it was leading. But as I cruelly discovered that night, that direction wasn’t heaven.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m sure that I would have made it to heaven if Christ had returned. It just wasn’t in my plan book. My entire attitude toward the Second Coming had shifted from “Please come!” to “Please . . . wait.”

Lo, He Comes

When do you picture Christ returning? For me, it has always been while I was hiding in the mountains during the days of persecution—after everything had already been stripped from me. Of course I would be glad to see God tear open the heavens when I was in my worst state.

But what if you heard God shout “It is finished” right before you said “I do”? What if you heard the trumpets sound on the day you got the promotion you had been working toward for years? Or when you first looked into the eyes of your newborn daughter? Or when you were celebrating the purchase of your first home? What if God came just when you were making your mark on the world?

Where Does Your Treasure Lie?

Everyone has heard the Bible verses urging us not to store our treasures on earth, because where our treasure is, our heart is (Matt. 6:19-21), but many of us forget that “treasure” doesn’t always equal “money,” or any other material possession, for that matter. Your treasure could be your marriage. Or your children. Or your career. Or the thrill of adventure. Or just the unknown.

We all have aspirations—things we want to do before we leave this world. Does God want us to abandon them and just sit around watching the sky for His return? Won’t we feel like we wasted our lives if He doesn’t return in our lifetime? How do we plan for the future while living every day as if Christ could burst through the clouds at any moment?

Top of the List

Make a list of the top 10 things you want from life. Now, it stands to reason that you want everything on this list, but you could sacrifice a few items toward the bottom for those closer to the top. For example, if “family” is number one and “career” is number two, then it makes sense that you would be willing to put your career on hold to raise your children.

God wants to be at the top of your list. But that doesn’t mean you have to erase everything else on your list.

God wants us to be happy. He wants to see us succeed at life more than we do. But most of all, He wants us to know that He has the ability to make us happier than anything this world can provide.

In our pursuit of happiness, we often forget that God can bring us the greatest joy. He not only provides peace and purpose, but also helps us obtain the other items on our list (Prov. 16:3). All He asks in return is to be our first desire (Ps. 37:4).

Yes, putting God as number one on the list may mean sacrificing a few items toward the bottom, but what He has in store tops anything we can even imagine.

You want a house? He wants to give you a mansion (John 14:2). You long for a family? He wants to unite you with your thousands of brothers and sisters in Christ (Gal. 3:26-28). You want to be loved? You serve a God who has been yearning for you before your mother could even pronounce the word (Jer. 1:5).

Christ’s second coming should never be seen as the end of our lives; it should be seen as the beginning of our adventure with the Father. It should be something we hope and long for. Because, in all honesty, how can we truly be ready for the Second Coming if we don’t really want Christ to return?

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