I woke up early the other morning to discover that it was still dark, assumed it was still the middle of the night and thought I could enjoy another few hours of sleep. As I lay trying to drift off to sleep again I was conscious that I could hear bird song coming in through a nearby window. As I lay there pondering why the birds should be singing in the middle of the night, I took a glance at the bedside clock, only to discover it was, in fact, early morning. The birds knew something I was unaware of - that dawn was on its way. Of course the birds were right, and within twenty minutes or so it was beginning to get light.
What a lesson and challenge to us, the Church, as we look forward to the return of Jesus! The birds were preparing for a new day, and announcing to the world that the dawn was coming. How about us? Are we that confident and assured that when Jesus said ‘I will come again’ it’s true, and it really will happen (John14:3)? Are we prepared, and courageous enough, to tell others to be ready for that time?
Our headlines are regularly filled with the unrest and uncertainty in global political, financial, social, geographical, and climatic spheres. As we compare all this with what the bible says concerning events prior to the Lord’s return, we realise we need to give careful attention to the signs of the times. To those who are discerning these signs would indicate that the Lord’s return is not too far away. The expectation we should have is expressed in the words of an old hymn by Henry Burton:
‘There’s a light upon the mountains,
And the day is at the spring,
When ours eyes shall see the beauty
And the glory of the King:
Weary was our heart with waiting,
And the night watch seemed so long,
But his triumph day is breaking
And we hail it with a song’.
The second verse starts with:
‘In the fading of the starlight
We may see the coming morn;
And the lights of men are paling
In the splendours of the dawn’.
And a later verse reads:
‘He is breaking down the barriers,
He is casting up the way;
He is calling for His angels
To build up the gates of day:
But His angels here are human,
Not the shining hosts above;
For the drum beats of His army
Are the heartbeats of our love’.
So let’s take a fresh look at what Paul says to the Church in Thessalonica concerning these things: ‘But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day: we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like others. Stay alert and be sober’ (1 Thessalonians 5:4-7).
Prayer: Dear Lord, please help us to interpret the signs of the times correctly in line with Your word. Help us to be ready for Your return, and help us to encourage others to be ready for it. Amen.