Just the other afternoon, my son, Hudson, and I were driving along a roadway near our house in order to run a few errands. We were singing one of Hudson’s favorite songs… loudly, of course. Traffic was heavy, but the sun was shining brightly.
As we looked across the western horizon, a beautiful mosaic of multi-layered clouds quilted the sky. Rays of sunlight shot through the majestic frame, inciting bursts of vibrant color.
Suddenly Hudson shouted, “Look, Papa! It looks like Jesus is breaking through the clouds! Jesus is breaking through the clouds!”
Hudson has a way of commanding everyone’s attention within 100 feet at any given moment, and today was no exception. He could not live one more minute if his Papa did not see the view he was taking in.
“Loooook, Papa! See!!” Hudson yelled again. “See the clouds and the light shining…”
His voice dropped to a whisper, “wow… Jesus is breaking through the clouds…”
“Is He, Papa…right now?” he asked with a deep tone of anticipation.
Before I could get out a response to my little guy, he gripped me with a thought I may never forget: “I want Him to come right now. He is going to come to our house. And I want Jesus to eat dinner with us. Yep, Jesus is coming over for dinner. I want Him to come because I love Him so much….”
“Can He come right now?” Hudson asked again. “I want Him to come… and stay.”
I quickly glanced back to see his eyes sparkling with joy and delight. He was smiling from ear-to-ear with his gaze locked on the exquisite horizon.
Excitement coalesced with peace.
Hope joined with confidence.
Faith seemed on the brink of sight.
Anticipation and hope and love – all wrapped up in my little 5-year-old’s heart and mind.
“Wow, Hudson, it does look like Jesus is breaking through the clouds.” I replied, “But I don’t think He’s coming right now… not just yet.”
“But I want Him to come and have dinner.” Hudson replied through a pout.
“Oh but Hudson, there will be a day – soon – when Jesus will come. And one day He will make everything right. He will restore the earth and make all things new.” I said.
“But you know the best part of it all, Hudson?” I asked.
“What, Papa?” He quickly asked, jumping on my rhetorical question.
“Well, when Jesus comes back to the earth to make everything new and perfect again, we will have dinner with Him… and He will never leave. We will always be with Him – forever and ever.”
“Wow… I can’t wait for Him to come.” Hudson said quietly.
We both silently looked out across the sky – the radiant colors, hues, and textures captivated our attention. Our eyes squinted at the piercing light from the sun, which now fully announced its presence from behind the clouds.
Hope Beyond Hamburgers
And I wondered… do we live with this joy-filled anticipation or would we find Jesus’ return a disruption to our plans and goals? Do we deeply long to rejoice at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9) or are we more focused on grabbing a quick hamburger between meetings?
Do we end every prayer with the desire for Jesus to come today or do we tritely conclude our quiet times with a laundry list of “wants” for a better and happier life right now?
Have we functionally bought into a gospel that promises “stuff” or that which brings us to God…into a personal, real, eternal communion with the God of the universe?
To Christ-followers in a not-so-nice environment, the apostle Peter wrote:
“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18a)
The ultimate goal of the Gospel is not what we have right now. There is something more to come – because Someone is coming. And when He comes we will know and experience and rejoice in the final redemption as God’s sons and daughters. We already have a down-payment – the seal of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence within us, but we have not yet received what all creation is longing for: “the revealing of the sons of God…our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:19, 23)
Here’s how Paul described this anticipation-drenched hope:
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)
Passionately. Eagerly. Captivated. Anticipating…
How we view God’s future plan will determine how we live out God’s will in the present. In other words, our perspective on the end frames how we live right now.
How we view God’s future plan will determine how we live out God’s will in the present.
But are we just preoccupied with the already that we forget about the not yet? I have to confess that I find myself in that disappointing sinkhole more times than I’d like to admit. I get so busy running errands for dinner today that I forget to look across the horizon and anticipate the day when we’ll have dinner with Jesus our Redeemer – face to face.
My little guy, Hudson, gripped me with his hope and longing for Jesus – not just for what Jesus Christ had done for him, but also in what Jesus will do when He comes. His simple longing to have dinner with the One who loves him with unending compassion and mercy is the sincere portrait of Christian hope.
“Yes, I am coming quickly.” – Jesus
I pray Hudson and I echo these words from now until we see our Redeemer: “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20b).
Walk in Hope.