Lord, Come Later

The prayer of God’s Church, from very early on, has always been “Lord, come quickly.” Marana tha. These are the words Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16. “Lord, come quickly.” These are the words historically and faithfully prayed around the communion table for centuries. “Lord, come quickly.”

And Jesus’ response to that prayer is found three times in the final 15 verses of Holy Scripture: “Behold! I am coming soon!”

Revelation begins with “the time is near” and ends with “I am coming soon.” And everywhere in between there’s this overwhelming sense of urgency and immediacy. Nearness. Soon-ness.

Lord, come quickly.

But our talk today sometimes betrays an un-Scriptural attitude. Our jokes and stories about heaven reveal what we really think and feel about eternal life after death in the presence of our loving Father. Our view seems to be that heaven will be fine once I die. But I don’t want to go there just yet. Not yet. Truth is, I’m doing OK here on earth. Things are pretty good. Instead of  “Lord, come quickly” it’s “Lord, come later.”

We sing it that way sometimes, too. “I’d like to stay here longer than man’s alloted days, and watch the fleeting changes of life’s uneven ways; but if my Savior calls me to that sweet home on high…”

No, no, no. Lord, come quickly!

Lord, come quickly and create that promised new heavens and new earth. Bring about that renewal of all things. Cleanse and purify the earth with that 2 Peter fire. Do that new thing. Reverse the curse. Banish Satan to hell forever. Make all of creation brand new again. Obliterate sin and death so thoroughly that we can’t even remember it anymore. May your holy will be done on earth just as it is in heaven. Bring it, Lord. The new Jerusalem. The new Garden of Eden. The new heaven and earth where everything that’s gone so horribly wrong is now finally made perfectly right!

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.

Amen.

Allan

3 Comments

  1. JV

    I totally agree about “Lord, Come Quickly”, but can also see how “Lord Come Later” is a bit of God’s grace in giving as much time as possible for people to repent and obey the Gospel. Sure, we want the Lord to “come quickly”, but what if He came the year before you were saved? The month before? The DAY before? Aren’t we grateful for his tarrying in that case?

    The call to the saved is to cast the net far and wide to reach as many lost as possible, WHILE we wait upon the Lord. Like so many other things, I suppose what matters is the “why” within our hearts – WHY do we pray for the Lord to come quickly, or perhaps wait a little while longer? It matters what we do with that time of waiting, whether it’s short or long.

  2. Allan

    The Church’s prayer is “Lord, come quickly.” God’s response is “In a little while…”

    That’s his answer to Habakkuk and the prophets. It’s his answer to the martyred souls under the altar in Revelation 6. And, yes, as you say, it is soaked in his love.

    God’s “later” is saturated with his mercy and grace. He gives people time to repent. He loves his creation that much. He will wait. Praise God he has no problem waiting!

  3. Josh

    William Barclay observed – “In our lives, in our attitude to and dealings with our fellow men, we must reproduce this loving, forbearing, forgiving, patient attitude of God toward ourselves.”

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