A friend of mine expressed her concern recently about how focused many Christians are on the approaching time of great tribulation (also called Jacob’s Trouble, Jer. 30:7). I know what she means. It is disconcerting to hear believers being preoccupied with all the terror and trouble while totally losing focus of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. It’s also unsettling to hear Americans talk as if the fall of America must signify the beginning of the tribulation and end times. There is no guarantee that this will be so. America may fall years before the tribulation starts. Or it may fall after our gathering unto Christ has already occurred. We don’t know.
But, having said that, there is one thing I firmly believe and that is that we should be looking for Jesus Christ – not the fall of the U.S., not the tribulation, not the man of sin (2 Thess. 2:3), not the end of the American dream, not a great economic crash, not….well, you get the idea. While I think it is good to look forward to the many promised blessings that Christ will bring with Him and cause to happen, at the same time I agree with the following poem that we should be looking for the Lord Himself. It has been said that the gift without the giver is bare, and in this case I feel this is true. Without the person of Jesus Christ Himself our hope of the future would be bare. It is He Himself that is the embodiment of all good – past, present and future! Let us keep our eyes on Him!
The Lord Himself
It is not for a sign we are watching...
For wonders above and below,
The pouring of vials of judgment,
The sounding of trumpets of woe;
It is not for a Day we are looking,
Not even the time yet to be
When the earth shall be filled with God's glory
As the waters cover the sea;
It is not for a King we are longing
To make the world-kingdoms His own;
It is not for a Judge who shall summon
The nations of earth to His throne.
Not for these, though we know they are coming;
For they are but adjuncts of Him,
Before whom all glory is clouded,
Besides whom all splendor grows dim.
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 Saviour and Bridegroom,
Who loved us and made us His own;
For Him we are looking and longing;
For Jesus, and Jesus alone.
- Annie Johnson Flint
Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.