By Melissa McLaughlin

What time is it?

Are we there yet?

How much longer ‘til we get there?

I remember those days. How we carefully planned each long-awaited vacation. Our children were young, so we selected destinations that provided opportunities for robust outdoor playtime and old-fashioned family fun. We packed clothing, we packed games, we packed favorite blankies and stuffed animals. We loaded up the car with CDs of Bible School songs, water bottles, snack bags, sketchpads, crayons, books, Beanie Babies and plastic action figures. As the car doors closed, faces lit up with eager expectation, unbridled enthusiasm and joyful exuberance knowing all that lay ahead!

At times, it seemed we drove only a few short miles before the questions began.

What time is it?

Are we there yet?

How much longer ‘til we get there?

We were no longer at home, but not there yet. The time between time.

As the clock of history ticks on, we find ourselves asking those same questions of God.

What time is it?

Are we there yet?

How much longer ‘til we get there?

In contemplating this, we discover two extraordinary pauses in the Biblical timeline of His-story. That time between time.

The first pause is commonly known as the silent years. From Malachi, the last Prophet in the Old Testament, to the birth of Christ in the New Testament, God’s people waited some 400 years to hear a word from Him. God appeared silent. The people had been given God’s Word in the Old Testament. So now they waited. They waited for their Messiah to come. Soon but not yet. The time between time.

In this present day, we also find ourselves waiting, for we are living in the second unique Biblical season, the years from the end of Revelation until the return of Christ. Our Messiah has come, died for our sins, rose again and ascended into heaven. Now we wait for the second coming of our Messiah. This is the age in which we live. Soon but not yet. The time between time.

And so, like many believers before us, we ask:

What time is it?

Are we there yet?

How much longer ‘til we get there?

With our limited, finite, human minds, we can only answer some of these questions.

What time is it? We know that God has revealed His masterful plan of redemption through His Word, the Bible. We see how God provided the solution for our sin-nature by sending His own Son to pay the penalty required. After laying down His life on the cross, Jesus arose from the grave, defeating sin, death and hell. Christ ascended into heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to live in the hearts of all who believe. Jesus assured us of His return. We can count on this, for Jesus not only speaks truth, Jesus is Truth. Though we don’t know the precise timeline, we do know that one day, Christ will judge the living and the dead and all those who are His own will join Him in heaven for all eternity.

Recognizing this, we wait. We wait for His return. As the Israelites waited for Jesus’ first coming, Jesus’ followers now wait for His second coming. That’s what time it is.

Are we there yet? No. But God has clearly given us His plan so we understand what comes next.

How much longer ‘til we get there? That is a question only God can answer.

Jesus taught that no one knows the time or the hour, but we should discern the season. In Matthew 24, Jesus described the signs needed to be aware of the season. Many of these signs are readily identified at present.

As we ponder all of this, here we are waiting. Soon but not yet. The time between time.

In the same way that every single Biblical prophecy of Jesus’ first coming was fulfilled, so every single Biblical prophecy of Jesus’ second coming will be fulfilled. Of this we can be absolutely certain. For God’s Word will stand. God’s Word is not arbitrary. God’s Word is pure, unadulterated, eternal truth. Truth is just that…true. As plain as 1+1=2. Truth cannot change. Truth transcends time and culture. Truth always was and always will be.

Though people could not see God’s hand moving in the 400 silent years between Malachi and the birth of Christ, we know that indeed God was moving, bringing every detail into alignment with His perfect will, according to His perfect time.

As we stand here in another unique time between time, may we remember that our God is living, moving, powerfully active and once again aligning every detail to fulfill His perfect will, according to His perfect time.

So…what should we do as we wait?

Jesus taught us a few things.

1.Watch and pray, as detailed here in Matthew 24:42 and Luke 21:34-36. Pray for guidance to use well the time we have left, to pursue things that will last forever. Only what’s done for Christ will last. Pray for others’ eyes to be opened to see, know and love Jesus as Savior and Lord.

2.Find peace in the finished work of Christ. As believers in Jesus, we need not fear His coming or our death. For Jesus has done it all! As written in Ephesians 2:8-9, we are guaranteed our place in heaven not based on our goodness and righteousness, but by believing in Christ and His goodness and righteousness! May Jesus Christ be praised!

3.Keep the lamp of our hearts and minds filled with spiritual oil. In Jesus’ end time parable, found in Matthew 25:1-13 , the oil represents our spiritual intimacy and close relationship with the Lord Jesus which is maintained through prayer, Bible reading, songs of praise and fellowship with other believers.

Though we wait here in the time between time, may we be awake! Jesus didn’t say watch and relax. He said watch and pray. Watch for God’s hand at work and pray to be used for His kingdom.

At Jesus’ birth, after the 400 silent years, we read in Luke 22 of Simeon and Anna, two remarkable people who were found watching and praying as Jesus arrived on the scene. They were waiting well.

When Jesus returns the second time, may we be found doing the same.

These are two profound pauses in the Biblical narrative of God’s redeeming work with His people. Two special moments when God is not speaking, but God is moving. This is a time of deep wonder as we marvel at the mystery and sovereignty of God’s power. This is also a time to remember and rest in God’s mercy, that One so great and endless and powerful would set his affections on us, ones so small and finite and powerless. Though we are merely creatures formed of earth’s dust, yet the Infinite God chose to include us in His miraculous, supernatural, eternal kingdom work! Let us humbly reflect and tremble in awe at this unlikely and incredible plan, for at this very hour He speaks and moves through us by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. We matter to God. We matter to His-story. We matter to the intricate workings of His mighty rescue plan. Imagine that a for moment and let that take your breath away!

Let us fully recognize that we are in a special era in Biblical history.

The time between the end of Revelation and the return of Christ.

The time between time.

One day soon, we will see Jesus face to face. On that day, we will bow down and worship Him for all eternity. When we remember our own ghastly sins and the brutally painful sacrifice Jesus endured in order to redeem us and make us whole, eternity will not be long enough to thank Him. We will be caught up in the glory of unending worship for it is by His grace and mercy alone that we are awarded this undeserved and most precious residence in heaven.

Until that day, we live here in this moment, in this time of faith. What a special blessing to love Jesus now, before we have seen Him face to face. Love Him now. Worship Him now. Live for Him now. On that day, there will be no choice, for at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord

Today, while we are on this side of heaven, by faith we can choose to believe Jesus, to love Jesus, to live for Jesus. What a sweet blessing to His heart this must be. May we relish this time between time, this special time of faith. May we offer up this rare gift of unseen faith to Him as we wait. And may we be found among the faithful when this chapter of His-story comes to a close.

Let us be awake! Let us watch and pray.

For as of today, His return is one day closer.

For as of this very minute, we are one breath closer to our last.

Let us be alert! Let us watch and pray.

For even now, the time grows short.

This time between time is drawing to an end.

Like little children, with their vacation destination at the forefront of their minds, may we longingly ask…

What time is it?

Are we there yet?

How much longer ‘til we get there?

Like little children, with their vacation destination at the forefront of their minds, may our faces be lit up with eager expectation, unbridled enthusiasm and joyful exuberance knowing all that lay ahead!

“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves,  people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25-28

coming on the clouds
Photo by Josh Sorenson

Photos courtesy of WordPress. Featured image kindness of Krivec Ales.

Additional Resources:

Do You Ever Wonder If the World is Coming to an End? By Melissa McLaughlin