I’m not really all that excited for the Second Coming.
It’s true. This isn’t an overstatement that I’ll later qualify and turn into a nice, uplifting devotional. I have never been able to muster that much excitement for the return of Jesus Christ. Am I proud of this? No. Is this something I constantly wrestle with and pray about? Absolutely.
All my life, there have been things I’ve wanted to accomplish before Jesus comes back and takes away this world I’ve gotten so used to. First I wanted to make it to summer vacation so I could play Nintendo all day. Then I wanted to play football another season. Then I wanted to graduate high school, get married, write a book, have kids…the list goes on. I’ve realized I have a very disturbing attitude:
I think Jesus is a party pooper. As soon as he comes back, I won’t be able to have any more fun.
Obviously, this isn’t something I’d specifically say out loud, but when I say “I want to do this and this and this before Jesus comes and puts a stop to it,” that’s essentially my attitude.
The other day, I read a passage that shed some light on why I seem to struggle with this so much. My New Year’s resolution this year was to read the Bible from cover to cover, so that means I can’t skip the genealogies anymore. And wouldn’t you know it, one of these genealogies was where I found this valuable little nugget:
When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. He named him Noah and said, “He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed.” (Genesis 5:28-29, NIV)
I don’t know why the verse struck me so hard, because looking at it now, it seems really off the wall. But there’s a certain bleakness to what Lamech says here. He recognizes the world he lives in isn’t just a little upsetting at times – it’s cursed. The stories of Eden are still fresh in his mind.
As I read that, I thought that maybe that’s my problem. Maybe Eden has turned – like so many other Bible stories – into the cartoonish flannel boards I grew up looking at in Sunday school. Maybe the thought of a pre-Fall world is just too nebulous to me. Maybe I’ve fooled myself into thinking I’m thriving. I’ve graduated college; I’ve gotten married; I’ve gotten a couple jobs that pay the bills and leave a little extra to tuck away.
I’ve forgotten Eden.
So when I look at the world I’ve built for myself, of course I’m going to feel a little nervous about watching it topple over. I don’t know what real paradise looks like. I’m not saying these couple verses fixed everything for me. Honestly, they didn’t make me any more excited for the Second Coming than I was before, and I’m still praying for that spark of excitement.
It’s just nice to find a root to the problem.