First Sunday of Advent: Naive

Happy Advent! Today’s text, Luke 21:25-36, immediately calls to mind a song by Chris Rice. I wish it was available online for me to link to– it’s a beautiful, simple song with a melody that perfectly suits these earnest questions:

How long until You defend Your name and set the record right
And how far will You allow the human race to run and hide
And how much can You tolerate our weaknesses
Before You step into our sky blue and say “That’s quite enough!”

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

I hear that a God who’s good would never let the evil run so long
But I say it’s because You’re good You’re giving us more time, yeah
‘Cause I believe that You love to show us mercy
But when will You step into our sky blue and say “That’s quite enough,
And your time is up!”

Am I naive to want a remedy for every bitter heart
Can I believe You hold an exclamation point for every question mark
And can I leave the timing of this universe in bigger hands
And may I be so bold to ask You to please hurry?

Of course we’re constantly preparing ourselves for His second coming, but if I’m honest, I’m super-glad He’s not come yet. As this song points out, God is merciful, and his waiting is a grace to the world, to so many in it who are not yet saved. We have work to do in this world, before He comes again.

As we think about His second coming, we have to be careful that we don’t look at current events as “fig leaves” of the world’s imminent destruction. Since the first century Christians have looked to their troubled societies as evidence of Christ’s impending return. Those who saw the destruction of their temple, the fall of the empire, the corruption of church hierarchy, pogroms, genocides and civil wars must have expected God’s intervention. Instead, these are footnotes of history. This recognition gives urgency to the Scripture’s admonition. “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with the worries of this
life” (v. 34). “Be alert, praying . . .” (v. 36). We are to be ready for what “will come on all who live on the face of the earth” (v. 35).

When God shakes the nations, it will be to meet us, not destroy us. God sent Immanuel so that at the Second Advent we will be able to stand by his grace.

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