“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 29. Be Patient
Mt 24:6 Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
So the Plan flowed through history. Israel both revealed the glory of God and the sinfulness of mankind that needed a Saviour. But then Israel provided a ‘God-environment’ into which the Son of God came from heaven, for a short thirty-three years before he left and returned back to heaven – but not before revealing his Father’s love and then redeeming mankind by his own death as a criminal.
But one day, while still here, he turned to his disciples and started telling them something of the nature or character of the times that would follow until eventually he would return, in the sky. So when the day came when he ascended before them, back to heaven, although there must have been a tremendous gap in their lives, when the Spirit soon came He not only empowered them but also enlightened them and they began to understand something more of what had happened and the nature of the kingdom of which they were now key players.
But our verse today, taken from that discourse about the last times in Matthew, reveals a key feature of the kingdom time, the time of the church – it is a time of waiting, a time that will need patience and perseverance.
We have, in the recent studies of this series been focusing on God as the One who pursues His goals through history, specifically through the history of Israel and at the end of each phase, it seemed, there was a crisis – and yet God kept on with the Plan, as if knowing that there would be these setbacks and, from a human standpoint, crises, and was thus not put off by them.
So Jesus warns his disciples that there would be things happening in history, deceivers coming, wars, famines, earthquakes, things that we might think were portents of the end – but in fact, they are not. They are simply things that happen in the Fallen World. They reach a crescendo or climax at some point that IS the end but they are, for the most part, just things we should expect in a world that is fallen, that goes wrong because of the influence of Sin affecting the world in a variety of ways. From time to time we may be tempted to think it is so bad this must be the end, but until Jesus actually appears in the sky, somehow seen by the whole world at the same time, we’re just to get the grace of God and be patient and persevere. This is not crisis, this is not God’s failure and so again we need to remind ourselves that Jesus is ruling in the midst of his enemies (Psa 110:1,2), all wrongs, breakdowns of the world etc., and will continue to reign (1 Cor 15:25) until he comes to wind it all up and he is STILL pursuing his Father’s goals to the end. Hallelujah!