Since it is New Year’s Day, I really can’t let this opportunity escape me to tell you a story about a New Year’s Eve in my childhood. Growing up, my family went to church. A lot. As in, most weeks we were at church a minimum of 5-6 times a week. And that didn’t even count the Bible studies my parents held in our home during the day while Keely and I were at school.
So, New Year’s Eve? We never went to a “party”. We did something way better. We went to church. I think people here in the States call it “Watch Night Service”.
The best part about New Year’s Eve Service was that we got to eat afterwards! But before I tell you about that, I need to share with you how my kid brain operated. Trust me. You want to read this. This is funny.
You know how you had thoughts about things when you were a kid, only to grow up and discover that what you thought was totally off base and just plain out wrong? Yep. This story is going straight down that path.
There were several instances in our growing up years that my sister Keely and I truly believed that the rapture had happened, that Jesus had returned and that we had been left behind. That is an indescribably awful feeling. However, now, those stories are hilarious in and of themselves. I need to make a note to write those down to share!
But I digress. Back to New Year’s Eve. Keely and I were sitting in the service, listening to our dad preach and singing songs and trying extremely hard to pay attention and not get in trouble. We knew there was food that would be served after the service was over, and that was supposed to happen at midnight! And our growling and rumbling tummies did not let us forget.
This is where it gets funny. I had in my head that we were “waiting and watching” for Jesus to come back to rapture us to heaven. I knew the Bible said that no one knows the day or the time, but New Year’s seemed as good of a time as any, and a good number of the Bride of Christ was conveniently gathered in churches across the world AND what else were we watching and waiting for? (Please note this belief was not something my parents told me, it was something I assumed.)
Now, I know that we are supposed to long for the return of Jesus and long for heaven…but at my young age, I was perhaps 7 or 8 years old, I had storybook visions of heaven and I didn’t REALLY want to go, (shocking I know!) because I was not interested in wearing a long white dress, playing a harp and floating on the clouds. (My view of heaven and what it will be like has since changed drastically. If you think we are going to be floating on clouds and turning into angels with harps, I encourage you to read the Bible to see what it says about heaven…. or even “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. He is a very talented writer and has studied scriptures extensively. I recommend that book wholeheartedly.) I was also interested in seeing Jesus and God, and maybe Moses and Noah. I was also really curious about the pearly gates and the crowns of jewels, and I was anxious to see if I could walk on the Crystal Sea like Jesus and Peter walked on the Sea of Galilee. But not interested enough to want Jesus to come back before we got to eat pancakes and bacon!!
So, I spent my time, sitting in my chair, trying to be a good example and a great missionary kid, and I secretly prayed that Jesus would wait to come back until after we had the chance to eat.
If my mama and daddy had of known what I was thinking and praying…. I can assure you. I would not be here right now writing this story for you to read.
Isn’t it funny how we can take little things and twist them into our version of truth or reality? While ALL of my views on this have since changed, due to my personal study of the Bible and my personal relationship with Jesus, what I want you to know is this:
Jesus IS coming back. Do you know him? Are you ready? If you aren’t longing to leave this world behind and go to heaven, then I would wager to say that you may not know him quite like you should. But don’t despair! You can know him like that. He’s waiting for you.
To put it in simple terms, knowing Jesus can be compared to your relationship with your favorite person. Think about how you miss them when they are gone and long to hear from them. Jesus is the same way. He longs for you to talk to him, and you should miss him every second when you aren’t spending time with him.
Statistics are staggering regarding people’s viewpoints on whether they really want to go to heaven. Don’t get me wrong. They definitely don’t want to go to hell, but they want to wait to go to heaven until they are more mature and “ready” to sit on a cloud playing a harp. If you don’t really want to go to heaven because it sounds boring, then I encourage you to learn more about it!
Most importantly, I encourage you to ask Jesus to make himself real to you. He will. He did it for me, and he will do it for you. I started just like that. I asked him to show himself to me. I wanted to KNOW him. And he did. I started reading my Bible everyday and it was amazing. It was like he had a private conversation with me every single time I read. Before you knew it, I was spending all of my spare time listening to him and talking to him. My life hasn’t been the same since.
Do you know him?
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name?’ 23 Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
““Now concerning that day and hour no one knows — neither the angels of heaven nor the Son — except the Father alone. As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding grain with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”