Meditations for Troubled Times
Are We There Yet?
It always happens. You're with your children on a trip, and, at some point along the way, you get the question (often more than once): “Are we there yet?” And then this question soon becomes: “When are we going to be there?”
The parents know where they're heading and how far they've been, and, at least at the beginning, they generally give a sensible answer. The problem comes when the “when are we going to be there” questions come about as frequently as the mile markers.
At this point, the otherwise reasonable parents are apt to say something on the order of, “Find something to do with what we brought for the trip,” like a book, a toy, or a video. Before too long this is inevitably followed by, “And stop aggravating your sister.”
As we continue sheltering in place, most of us are probably starting to ask the “when are we going to be done with this” question, maybe even wishing that just by asking the question we can hurry along the process. To that extent, it may seem like we're becoming like our children—impatient that the end is not yet in sight.
Since this may be the case for all of us as we wait for the governmental leaders to restore normalcy in our daily lives, it may be profitable for us to examine what we are doing with the extra hours. Is there something to be done with our time that will achieve a spiritual end and produce wholesome spiritual fruit?
This is a good question, since we obviously “are not there yet” and don't know “when we’re going to get there.” Redeeming these hours by doing things that draw us closer to the Lord certainly is a good plan. When we look to the Word, we see several passages where Jesus gives powerful instruction about how godly men and women may grow in their love for and commitment to him.
For example, as recorded in the latter part of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus had entered Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, fully aware that his journey to the cross would conclude later that week. In chapters 21 through 23, Jesus sternly denounced the chief priests, elders, and the Pharisees for their misunderstanding of Scripture and their hypocritical practices. But then in chapters 24 and 25, he turned aside to speak with the disciples both prophetically and practically. From a prophetical perspective, Jesus spoke about key events that both the disciples and other believers could expect to occur in the short term and in the far distant future. From a purely practical perspective, he described how the disciples, as well as other believers (like us), should prepare themselves for the future events he had just described. In short, knowing “they were not there yet,” he gave insights for living for all believers in our respective journeys to our ultimate destination.
The principal insight from the prophecies in Matthew 24 is the reality that “no one knows the day or hour” of our Lord's return (verse 36), and, to that end, we all are to “stay awake” in anticipation of his coming (verse 42).
And in Matthew 25, Jesus described: (1) the importance of being prepared and watchful, with “oil for our lamps” (in the parable of the Ten Virgins, verses 1-13); (2) the significance of stewardship and the wise use of the gifts with which we have been entrusted (in the parable of the Talents, verses 14-30); and (3) the blessed and eternal reward to those “sheep” who minister on the Lord's behalf (verses. 31-40).
Our daily routines in the “routine (not “sheltered-in-place”) times” may have the effect of absorbing so much of our time and energy that we have little time left for thinking about and engaging in service to the Lord. Let's make it a point now, as we are less busy, to thank him for these unusual weeks and for the opportunity to think about, and practice, more intimate time with and for the service for our King.
And, yes, we will be there soon!