By Roxanne Drury
Acts 1:11b tells us that Jesus is coming back one day. “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.”
Wait… What?… He’s coming back?… When?…
Yes, He’s coming back. We don’t know when. Only God knows when (Matthew 24:36).
Scripture tells us after Jesus died and was raised to life that He spent 40 days on earth preaching and teaching before ascending into heaven. He is there now, preparing a place for all those who love and obey Him. That place is called heaven. And one day, unexpectedly, He will return (John 14: 1-4). Jesus had given His disciples warning that He would be leaving them and what He would be doing, but they didn’t understand (John 14:5). So, “Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). You see, it is impossible for us to get to heaven on our own. We need Jesus in our life to have the hope of heaven. He is the way, the only way.
We have the hope of heaven no matter what happens here on earth. John 16:33 warns: “In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This place we call home now is but a temporary residence. Homes on earth can be taken away, burned down, outgrown, sold, or rebuilt. There is only one home that cannot be taken away from you; it can’t be burnt, outgrown, sold, or rebuilt. As a believer, a follower of Jesus, a Christian, saved by grace, we are assured of a forever home with Jesus in heaven one day. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” Philippians 3:20. Heaven is our permanent residence. The hope of heaven can and will carry you through anything you are experiencing here on earth until He returns, which could be any day, any hour.
Since we don’t know when He is coming back, Matthew 24:44 says we “must be ready for His return.” How in the world do we get ready for something as monumental as the return of Jesus? Think about packing for a vacation. I know that comparison seems lame, but give it a chance, you’ll see the connection.
When packing for a vacation, you need the basic things for travel and the standard items you use every day: a suitcase, enough clothes to last as long as the vacation, a toothbrush, toothpaste, other sundries, shoes, etc. Now imagine getting ready for Jesus’ return. I think you need the Christian basics (see how I did that?): daily prayer, daily praise, daily Bible reading, daily obedience, daily trust, daily belief, daily asking forgiveness, daily self-control, daily loving God and others, daily encouraging one another, daily watching for opportunities to tell others about Jesus, daily being ready when that trumpet sounds loudly (Matthew 24:30-31, 36-44). I imagine that if we started living ‘ready’ for Jesus’ return, we would probably live quite differently than we do now.
I leave you with a reflective question: Knowing that Jesus could come back any day, any hour, what do you plan to do to be ready in the hope of heaven?
Roxanne Drury is a wife, mother, grandmother, and retired Christian preschool teacher with a teaching certificate in Early Childhood Education. She has served the Lord in children’s ministry for over 40 years and is currently on staff at Rockharbor Church.