by Emily Conrad
What if Jesus returns in September? This coming one, to be exact?
The question captivates me. September is soon but not too soon. I can get some work done before then, talk to some people, make a final difference. But it’s not years and years. It’s not after what I would hope/expect to be my natural lifespan. It’s not even after the release of my debut novel.
But, of course, the question is also hypothetical. It occurred to me as I read a post fellow author Linda Thompson about a sign from Revelation that appears to be occurring in our sky in September. I don’t know much about end times prophecy, and the Bible warns us that we do not know the day or the hour when Jesus will return. So, I (and Linda, by the way) by no means mean to predict when Jesus will come back.
We can’t say.
But we can read the Bible. 1 Peter 4:7 warns, “For the culmination of all things is near” and James 5:8 says, “the Lord’s return is near” (NET).
Because the Bible has been around for a long time, it’s easy to live as though the Lord’s return will be sometime after the end of my natural life. But even if the Second Coming is still one hundred years or more in the future, our natural lives are fleeting, too.
The days of our lives add up to seventy years,
or eighty, if one is especially strong.
But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression.
Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away.
So teach us to consider our mortality,
so that we might live wisely.
– Psalm 90:10 and 12, NET
So, not to be morbid, but time for each of us is shorter now than ever before, and it’s important to treat it that way.
The urgency moves me to act on the tasks God has pressed on my heart to do and share and say. I want to minister in the ways I’m called to minister. I want to be faithful. But as I start to strive, questions pop up: Will my work have the impact I intend it to have? Do I have time to dream big? Is there any point in continuing the work—especially the bigger, long-term work?
I’m forced to admit I can do nothing by my own power. I’m forced by my limitations to resort to trust. Praise God for that.
Jesus holds the future and completes the work. Not me. Thank you, Jesus.
If I lose sight of Him in favor of the tasks in front of me, I’ve missed the point. My work becomes panicky and desperate. I forget it’s not all my responsibility and that only by His power can I show up to those tasks He’s called me to and work while He allows me the opportunity.
So, despite any work I think needs to be done, my priority must be my relationship with Jesus. He is the ultimate good and knowing Him, the ultimate privilege.
Whether it’s the outcome of a conversation or of a novel or of a lifelong endeavor, the results are completely in His loving, trustworthy hands.
When our time is spent and the end comes in whatever time or way it comes, those who are clothed in the righteousness of Christ will be accepted by our Heavenly Father, who is faithful and just to complete the good work He began in us when He called us to Himself.
By following Christ, we can rest assured that we will be right where He wants us when He wants us there whether that’s in September or eighty years from now.
He is God. He is good. He is trustworthy. He is the Savior.
And He’s inviting us to live our numbered days with Him, aware that time is both limited and passing, but more in love with Him than with this world. Because this world? It isn’t our home, as Hebrews 13:14 reminds us.
So while we’re here, let’s live aware and in love, praying along with Moses, who closed his psalm this way:
Satisfy us in the morning with your loyal love!
Then we will shout for joy and be happy all our days!
Make us happy in proportion to the days you have afflicted us,
in proportion to the years we have experienced trouble!
May your servants see your work!
May their sons see your majesty!
May our sovereign God extend his favor to us!
Make our endeavors successful!
Yes, make them successful!
Psalm 90:14-17, NET
Title image is my own, designed on Canva