By Dianne Neal Matthews
It was my least favorite kind of day - - hot, humid, muggy. My bangs stuck to my forehead and the backs of my legs stuck to the car seat. My body felt drained of energy as I dragged myself around town with my list of errands. Finally! I thought, as I pulled into the parking lot of my last stop.
A few minutes later, I turned a corner and stepped from August into October. The store's home decor department overflowed with autumn merchandise. I strolled through the aisles looking at scarecrows, pinecones, miniature bales of hay, autumn leaves, and cinnamon potpourri. As I drank in the sights and smells of my favorite season, a surge of anticipation and excitement filled me. My energy revived as if brisk fall breezes were already blowing on my face.
Throughout that sticky summer day, I often thought about the arrival of autumn in a couple of months and felt that same tingling excitement. I found that I could bear the heat better by concentrating on the promise of a new season and the pleasures it would bring.
That evening, I went to Bible study and got a reminder of another, greater promise. As we looked at Scriptures about the second coming of Jesus Christ, I realized that my longing for autumn should pale in comparison to my eagerness for the return of my Savior. I wondered how I could spend so much time looking forward to earthly joys and give little thought to the event that represents the culmination of human history.
When Jesus returns to the earth, he will avenge evil, free the oppressed, and reward his followers. His coming will eventually bring an end to all suffering, death, and even the presence of sin. And we will come face to face with the One our soul has been longing for, the One who died for us.
Paul expressed what our attitude should be when he wrote "....we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Romans 8:23, NIV). Our eagerness is also meant to be shared with others. We are instructed to "encourage each other" with words about our Lord's return (I Thessalonians 4:18, NIV).
God wants me to live each day in anticipation of the event that will mean the exchange of my earthly body for a new imperishable one, and my removal from a temporary fallen world to an eternal home. All of my struggles and trials seem small when compared to the glory of my future as God’s child.
When the oppressive heat of summer gets me down, I can know that autumn is coming. When the troubles and sin of this world get me down, I can be sure that a better life is coming. I find great comfort in knowing that, whether by death or by the return of Jesus, one day I will turn the corner and step from Earth into eternity.
Copyright © 2002, Dianne Neal Matthews. Used by permission. This Devotion is reprinted from an August 2002 issue of LIVE magazine.
For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 24:27)
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Dianne Neal Matthews is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books. Her newest release is Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation (Baker Books). Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
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