by Pastor Tim Burt
I suddenly woke up! Something didn't seem right. There was too much light coming in the window. I looked at the clock. It was 7:00 am. I was in shock. My alarm should have gone off at 6:00 am. I reached for it but it wasn't turned on. I had forgotten to set it. I looked for Renee. She was already gone. Renee had left out-of-town to visit one of our sons and His family. I wasn't able to accompany here.
She set her alarm for 5:00 a.m. I was going to get up with her but I was in such a deep sleep, she didn't want to wake me. She thought I needed the sleep. Now she was gone and I didn't get to say goodbye or pray with her before she left. It felt so weird. I had immediate pains of missing her. I was caught off guard.
A few years ago, my dad had called me late one night. My mom had a heart attack. The ambulance was on the way and he wanted me to come get him and go with him to the hospital. Renee and I jumped in the car in seconds, picked him up and took him to the hospital. Mom never did recover. She died two days later. I never got to say goodbye to her while she was conscious. I was caught off guard.
Many years ago in my airline career, I was on a flight that nearly collided with another jet. It was a near-miss I survived, but I assure you, that day I thought about how close my life was to being over. I was caught off guard but that day changed my life.
Yesterday, I found out that an old friend I hadn't see in over 20 years died in a motorcycle accident. He was a great guy and I just couldn't stop thinking about how his wife and family and all of us were caught off guard.
There are things that happen suddenly in life. When they do, they usually catch us off guard. Had I been caught in that mid-air plane collision, I would have not been ready to meet the Lord. When my mom suddenly died, I so wanted one more last conversation to tell her how much I loved her. When Renee went out-of-town without waking me, I was caught off guard and missed praying with her and kissing her goodbye. And my friend, I'll have to wait until Heaven to see him again.
God doesn't want us to be off caught off guard—especially about the second coming of Jesus. It could happen at any time or it could be a number of years. Jesus said that no one knows the day or hour but, one day there will be, in the twinkling of an eye, the rapture of the church and all believers will be gone. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (NLT) reveals, “For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died. I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words”
As you can see from the last verse, these words are to bring us comfort, not make us paranoid. If you are ready, then you won't be paranoid. We want to be ready when the Lord comes. Jesus makes ready, those who've received Him personally as their Savior. It is those who have their sins washed washing. So, are you comfortable personally with how you are living for the Lord or would you feel embarrassed if that trumpet blew right now?
Let’s not be caught off guard. Let’s ask God to help us live righteously for Him and live working to reach people with His love. Let’s be the church being about His business.
Romans 13:12-14 (NLT) "The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light. We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don't participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy. But let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you, and don't think of ways to indulge your evil desires."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt