“…for you know very well that the day of the Lord
will come like a thief in the night.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2 (NIV)
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (NIV)
We find ourselves anxious for Joseph and Mary as they get battered about moving from one residence to another to ensure God’s plan would come to pass just as prophesied. They went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, from Bethlehem to Egypt, and from Egypt to Nazareth. They came full circle as they landed back at the place from which they started.
The time for Christ to die had not yet come so He is perfectly safe wherever He roams. Mad King Herod and all his army could not take Jesus’ life because God had ordained that another ruler named Pontius Pilate would be the one who would pass the death sentence on our Lord and carry it out.
Sometimes we have similar experiences as we journey through life. It may not be as frantic as having a king seeking our destruction. We may travel in comfort as contrasted with riding on a donkey. We may never be reduced to spending a few days living in a stable with animals, but we may have very humble accommodation to shelter us from the climate’s extreme heat or cold. Our best clothing may be ragged by some people’s standards but we are resolved to trust the Lord.
Christians know their days are numbered by the Lord. We cannot die until our appointed time. We are “destined” to die exactly when the Lord has set the time. In John’s Gospel we read a phrase several times (John 2:4; 7:6, 8; 16:4; 17:1) about our Lord’s “time”. Reading the whole story in the Gospel of John we realize that it speaks of the death of Jesus on the cross.
What is really remarkable is the fact that Jesus said His suffering was His glory. John 17:1 (NIV)
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.'”
When we suffer, we are called on to glorify God just as our Lord did by his obedient submission to the horrors that immersed him that day. We honour God in our trials by accepting the difficult reality and moving on.
We demonstrate to all who see us that God’s “amazing grace” is not just an expression in a popular hymn but a living reality in the lives of His people. Let us then seek to fill all our days with a living praise to the Lord Who created us, sustains us, and finally will embrace us in His eternal, loving arms. Our time has come! Let us endure because we see the invisible God.