I remember the moment like it was last week, except it was an ordinary day in 1976. Standing in the narrow hallway of our rental house, between my bedroom and our bathroom, I was bending over a pile of wrinkled clothes in the ironing basket, searching for a lost shirt. As I sorted through forgotten items I was now outgrowing, details about the second coming of Christ circled through my thoughts.
Twelve years old and I’m silently assessing the cost of choosing salvation.
Pewter bicentennial plates line the top shelf of the hutch in the kitchen, behind an eclectic collection of cobalt glass and porcelain. We lived in that house for a brief period, two years I would like to forget. But sometimes the worst years are reminders of God’s faithfulness in hindsight.
Calculating time, I landed on the year 2000 for the obvious return of Jesus. A futuristic time period felt unrealistic like the Jetsons coming to life. A safe distance from my circumstance, I consoled myself by thinking I didn’t have to change anything in my life immediately. The thought of writing out the date on a document with the year beginning with a 2 instead of a 1 was somehow unimaginable. I convinced myself I was right.
“I think Jesus will return in 2000, don’t you Mom,” I said to her, hoping for reassurance.
She reminded me that we don’t know exactly when Christ will return, we can’t predict it.
I was trying to determine outcomes before they happened, comforting myself with logic. Unfortunately, I still do that.
I’m not sure what provoked an end times thought process. Perhaps it was watching one of those cheesy movies that scare young people into surrendering to Jesus or maybe the insecure circumstances we lived in daily pushed hope into the future.
As an adolescent, I wasn’t aware of the irrelevance of my question. But this morning, as I wake up to the simulated waves from the alarm clock, this forgotten memory returns to the forefront with a message.
God is always at work shaping an eternal perspective within us. He’s waiting for us to choose Him.
Your thoughts and memories aren’t random, did you know that?
Jesus said, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1:7, MSG)
Sometimes while focused on time and attempting to determine outcomes for the future, we forget why he sent the Holy Spirit.
He doesn’t plant eternity in our hearts so we can put it under glass and admire the beauty. The Kingdom flourishes when the seeds he plants in your soul germinate; when we share Him like oxygen with those who are suffocating.
If we want to experience spiritual springtime, we must awaken from winter’s sleep. Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria can be your kitchen, the neighbor’s yard or the grocery store check-out. The ends of the world? Your small town life with a laundry basket full of procrastination.
He remembered that they were but flesh, wind that passes and comes not again. (Psalm 78:39)