Watch and Wait
Dr. John K. Mathew
In his book, 'Man's Search for Meaning', Victor Frankl, a successor of Sigmund Freud at Vienna, argued that the "loss of hope and courage can have a deadly effect on man." As a result of his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, Frankl contended that 'when a man no longer possesses a motive for living, no future to look toward, he curls up in a corner and dies.' Any attempt to restore a man's inner strength in camp", he wrote, "had first to succeed in showing him some future goal".
What makes a Christian unique in his faith is his intact trust and hope in the return of Jesus Christ. In the words of Billy Graham, " We can't go on much longer morally. We can't go on much longer scientifically. The technology that was supposed to save us is ready to destroy us. New weapons are being made all the time, including chemical and biological weapons. The only bright spot on the horizon of this world, today, is the promise of the coming again of Christ". The pagan world in Paul's day had no hope of life after death. A typical inscription on a grave demonstrates this fact:
I was not
I am not
I care not
The believers in Thessalonica were concerned about their loved ones who had died. What if the Lord would return? Would their deceased loved ones be handicapped in any way? So Apostle Paul wrote to them with no grain of ambiguity that "the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore, encourage each other with these words. (1 Thess.4:16 -18)
Warren W. Wiersbe, internationally known Bible teacher aptly said, "whether we Christians live or die, we have nothing to fear because Jesus will come either with us or for us! The fact of his return is a comfort to our hearts".
During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Davenport, the speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. One day in 1789, the sky of Hartford darkened ominously, and some of the representatives, glancing out the windows, feared the end was at hand. Quelling a clamor for an immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, "The day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought, Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful until Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we are to light as we watch and wait".
It is related that Queen Victoria, deeply touched by a sermon of F.W. Farrar on the Lord's Second Coming, and said to him: " Dean Farrar, I should like to be living when Jesus comes, so that I could lay the crown of England at his feet". Let this be our prayer as well.