Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why I'm encouraged after Super Tuesday

I'm encouraged today. Not because my preferred candidate picked up a lot of delegates yesterday (he didn't); and not because Reagan conservatism achieved a great victory yesterday (it didn't); and not because our next President will be a highly qualified person of character and experience (they might not be). Rather, I'm encouraged today because this world is not my home. My citizenship is in heaven, and my Lord Jesus Christ is a perfectly righteous King, seated firmly today upon His throne! What's more, my King is coming again soon!

In the midst of political turmoil and uncertainty, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 gives me four reasons to be encouraged:

  • I am encouraged by the coming return of Christ. "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God" (4:16). Oh, how I long to hear those three triumphant sounds - the shout, the voice, and the trumpet! I keep my ears and eyes open, because those sounds mark the arrival of my Lord. Arthur Whiting says, "The Savior is the One for whom the saints long, and He alone can meet their heart-hunger."
  • I am encouraged by the coming resurrection of the dead. "And the dead in Christ will rise first" (4:16). The resurrection of the dead is certain, because Christ's resurrection is accomplished. We may not know yet exactly what our resurrected bodies will be like, but this much we know, "that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). What a glorious day that will be! But something else will immediately follow...
  • I am encouraged by the coming rapture of the living. "Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (4:17). One moment, we will be walking on this earth, and the next moment, we will be suddenly "snatched up" or "seized" faster than a special forces rescue operation. This is a mystery previously unrevealed to the church (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
  • I am encouraged by the coming reunion of all believers. We "will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord" (4:17). We will be united together with other believers, once and for all, with loved ones past and present who have trusted in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Finally, I will be able to spend unhurried time with spiritual heroes like my Grandpa and Grandma Goodrich, Hal Kemper, John Bunyan, and so many others.
For all of these reasons, I am greatly encouraged, even after Super Tuesday. Yet as long as Christ has me on this earth, there is still work here to be done. Many more must hear the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, and prepare for the coming of the King!

...We wait for the Lord, our Beloved,
Our Comforter, Master, and Friend,
The substance of all that we hope for,
Beginning of faith and its end;
We watch for our Savior and Bridegroom,
Who loved us and made us His own;
For Him we are looking and longing—
(Annie Johnson Flint)

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