“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
Some of my best childhood memories are of annual vacations when my father took my brother, two sisters, and me along with family friends on brief road trips to the beach. However, one particular year had a traumatic start.
It was about a three-hour drive from Greenville to Topsail Beach, North Carolina. Six young children ran, shouted with laughter, then piled into the car. For entertainment, we counted the occasional vehicle we met while traveling down a two-lane county road surrounded by fields of crops and orchards. Dad stopped at an old dilapidated filling station with a couple of gas pumps in front. We sprinted inside for treats and then dashed around the building to the bathrooms.
My sisters got into the vehicle while I was in the bathroom. As I walked towards the vehicle daddy got into the car. So I ran towards the sedan as I yelled “Stop” but he closed the car door, cranked the engine, and pulled onto the paved road. I screamed, tears streamed down my face as the car faded into the distance, and out of sight. Feelings of desperation swept over me.
I stood still, stunned, eyes riveted to the spot where I glimpsed the rear of the vehicle as it faded from view. I couldn’t believe dad abandoned and left me alone by the roadside. I was terrified. I was alone for the first time. What am I to do? I wanted to feel the safety of dad's strong arms encircling my body.
A familiar car turned into the dirt entrance minutes later and I ran towards it as I wiped the tears away. The car halted, and the door swung open. He wrapped me in his arms. He united me with those I love. All the overwhelming fear vanished, my father had returned and happiness filled me.
During Jesus’ three years of ministry, His disciples trod dirt paths from place to place as He taught them, preached and performed miracles. I suspect they thought the Messiah would establish His kingdom on earth and be with them always. Instead, they found themselves hiding in a room, consumed with grief and fear after Christ was crucified. I’m sure they felt abandoned until He rose victoriously from the grave just as He said. He appeared to them frequently over forty days before telling them to remain in Jerusalem until they receive the Holy Spirit and power.
Being with Jesus following His resurrection the disciples were present on the mount when God exalted Jesus as a cloud lifted Him high into the lofty sky toward heaven, then two men robed in white told them that He would return to earth again just as he left, as the disciples recalled the events, they spoke words of hope of His return.
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11 NIV
Christians have waited and hoped for the return of Christ, but they haven’t seen it yet. It will be the most joyous event in history when He returns.
So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:44 NIV
Thank you Jesus for the Holy Spirit that guides us while we wait in confidence that You will return for Your church. It gives us great joy knowing that You are preparing a forever home for each of those You love. Help us prepare as we wait for You to come again.
What scripture gives you the confidence of Christ’s return?