If you know us, or have read this blog before, you’ll know that we’re expecting our second child in August.
If you’ve had children of your own, or even had friends or relatives who’ve had children, you’ll know how exciting the countdown to the new arrival is. Thinking about this new baby often occupies your thoughts. What will they look like? Will it be a boy or girl? What will their personalities be like? When will they come? “Expecting” is exactly the right word to use.
Recently we’ve been reflecting on this time of waiting and have been struck by the echoes of the gospel that resound. As we said in our “Gospel In The Everyday” introductory post, we shouldn’t be surprised to see something of the truth of who God is in the world he’s created and in the rhythms and patterns of the world, all of which speak of his glory. We’re excited about how God, in his grace, has been using this time that we’ve been expecting to remind us of something of the gospel. We hope you’ll be encouraged too.
When Is He Coming?
In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul writes to a church who seem to be in a bit of confusion about the return of Jesus. He writes to them to urge them to be aware that Jesus will return, and to stay alert to this reality as they go about life, as the exact date and time of his return is unknown.
To help them get their heads round it, Paul uses two illustrations. He describes Jesus’ return as being like a thief in the night. The point is clear. If we knew exactly when a thief was going to come, then it wouldn’t be a surprise. We wouldn’t be sleeping and allow them to just stroll in and steal. But the fact is, we don’t know when a thief will come. It’s a shock to us. Just like Jesus’ return.
Then he uses an unexpected illustration. He talks about Jesus’ return coming suddenly, like labour pains come to a woman. (Paul uses this illustration negatively – it’s a warning to those who don’t know Jesus. But hopefully you’ll see that this illustration can be helpful to Christians too.)
Now, we always thought this illustration a little odd. You see we do know, don’t we, when a baby is coming? 9 months gestation, and all of that?
Well yes, but we don’t know exactly when.
We know that the baby will come, but the exact date and time is a complete mystery (unless you have an elective C-Section of course… but that wasn’t a possibility when Paul was writing!). If you’re a parent you’ll remember that all too well – those days in the run up to the due date when you were itching for it to happen – itching to know when you’d finally meet your precious little one. Crossing the days off the calendar, knowing it will be soon, but just not sure when. And then suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, the waters break and it’s happening.
Now do you see Paul’s point? That’s just the place we’re in as Christians. We know Jesus will return. We eagerly anticipate that date. But when exactly that date will be is a mystery.
The Greater Meeting
So, as we wait expectantly to meet little miss/master Thomson, we want to use the sense of anticipation and expectancy to remind us of an even greater meeting to come that we’re also waiting for. We know with certainty that that day will one day come when Jesus will return. When exactly will that will be, we don’t know. But it will come. We will one day see him face to face. And so, as Paul goes on to urge the Thessalonians, we want to live in the light of that wonderful and certain future reality.
If you’re expecting then next time you find yourself eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little one, why not let that prompt you to ponder the reality of the coming return of Jesus? Do you know a Christian who is expecting? Maybe you could point them to this post as a helpful reminder to them of the gospel in the everyday?