Be ready: We don't know when Christ will return

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Religion column by George W. Smith

By George Smith

Many believe that we are living in the last days. There are wars and rumors of wars with news of floods and natural disasters filling our television screens and newspapers. Such things are cited in the Bible as signs of the second coming of Christ.

The Apostle James has some helpful suggestions of things to do in order that we will be ready to greet Christ when he returns (James 5:7-12). He first of all uses the farmer as an example of the patience we should have until Christ comes (5:7-8a). Patience carries the idea of catching our breath for a long distance run. We don’t know when Christ will return, and so we are to keep a consistent run for the Lord Jesus.

James warns us to be prepared – for we don’t know the day nor the hour of Christ’s return. A physician reflected the spirit we all need in the plaque which hung on his office wall which read, “Perhaps Today.” Every moment, he wanted to be prepared. When Jesus returns, we want to greet him with clean spirits and a life that shows we are busy in his service.

The Christians to whom James wrote were urged to be persistent and endure. He says, “We consider blessed those who have persevered.” (James 5:10-11). Job is the example used of one who persevered. Though he encountered tragedy on every hand, Job remained faithful. Trouble was his middle name, but Job kept on being faithful to God. He had an inner strength that we all need as we serve Christ.

Some turn from God when trouble comes. They decide not to trust God anymore. Such a reaction is a misunderstanding of God’s word. The Bible tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45).

Jesus himself said, “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). James says, “When you encounter various trials” (1:2). The Bible goes ahead to assure us that God will be with us (Matthew 28:20) and that he will help us through it (I Peter 5:7).  When trouble comes, hold on to God.

We should live every day ready. Jesus said that only the Father knows when he will return (Acts 1:6).

In the words expressed in the hymn “Is it well with your soul?”

When Jesus comes, will you be ready?