It is a thing of pleasure to listen to a masterful communicator. Our lead pastor is one.
Yesterday morning’s message was a piece of a series, the theme of which is seeing Jesus for who He is, and working to follow in that understanding as authentically as possible. Studying in Luke 18, Pastor Brent ended that study passage with verse 8: “When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?”
That verse has always got my attention. The passage talks about a cynical, dispassionate judge who’d seen and heard it all in his courtroom. Seems there was a widow who had a knack for nag, and she kept pestering him for justice. If you don’t know the story, stop reading this, grab the nearest Bible, and refresh Luke 18:1-8 in your mind.
I’ll wait. I need to refill my “FORMERLY KNOWN AS STUD MUFFIN” mug, anyways. C’mere–I’ll refill your cup while you’re reading.
Got it? Alrighty, then.
So Jesus finishes this little story, then casually slides in the question in verse 8. Subtle as a flash-bang grenade. Jesus was a master with those one-liners, by the way. In them reside some of His most potent truths, designed to keep The Lads pondering what in Galilee He meant long after He’d either physically gone elsewhere, or had switched topics.
Ever wanted to ask Jesus, up front and personal, what He meant by something He said? Luke 18:8 would be a super place to start.
- “When“, not if. He flat told them, without fanfare, He’d be back. Considering God’s track record, I’d believe Him.
- He lumped the Twelve – and you and me – in His query: “Am I going to find faith when I come back? Any faith?” “Well, what are we–chopped lox?” His point: if we’re not careful, the closer we get to His return, we could lose our hope and abandon our faith, too; especially in light of how many people there are surrounding us who are just as disbelieving and jaded as that judge. Some would say they have reason to be. In a single question, Jesus nailed it: “As Time gets short, you keep your eyes on Me. Focus on Me, not each other, nor your churches or ministries or—” He knew it’s deceptively easy to drift as Hebrews warns. The farther from God a culture swerves, the easier it is for the Church to begin a Leftward drift into “It’s okay. Everybody’s doing it.”
But here are the new takeaways I got from yesterday’s Scripture lesson, as written by Dr. Luke.
When Jesus returns, there will be:
prayers as yet unanswered
faith as yet unrewarded
passionate persistence as yet unnoticed (at least from our perspective)
So. Statements like, “Someday, the last prayer will be answered…” are romantic, but not factual. Your last prayer, maybe. But not the final one. When Jesus asks if He’ll find any faith here upon His coming back, He’s telling us it’ll still be available to exercise. Still available and effective to live by.
Hebrews says right at the end of Chapter 11 NONE of us will ever see ALL our earthly dreams, hopes and faith borne out–because God’s waiting until we’re all Home together, so that His best hits us all at the same time!
You wanna talk ‘party’, here?
Ray is our newest family member, a 4-year-old registered Shar Pei. At least twenty-seven times during the day, I’m telling him, “Wait” and making the ‘stop’ sign with an upraised hand. Repetition.
If that persistence works with training animals, why are we so shocked when God uses it with you and me?
“Patience, grasshopper. The best is yet to come.”
“What?!? More of that delayed gratification cra— junk?”
Yep. You got it. It’s like the Holy Spirit is gently smiling and saying, “Patience, grasshopper. The best is yet to come.” So, yeah, no. We may not see all the answers to our earthly praying until we’re there with Him, and can see it all playing out perfectly in EternalVision.
And when you think about it, that’s pretty cool.
It just might be worth the wait.
© D. Dean Boone, April 2018