THE JOY OF YOUR FIRST TIME

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My oldest sister went sky-diving in her late 60s. It was something she had always wanted to do so family members gave her the experience as a birthday gift. The price included receiving a film of your entire experience, however, the camera failed and there were no pictures, so they gave her a second, “free” sky-dive jump the same day. (Better the camera failing than the parachute!)

Can you remember looking forward to something for your first time?
Your first motorcycle ride.
Your first roller coaster ride
Getting engaged and married.
The birth of a child.
Getting in the first car you ever owned or drove.
Your first trip to a foreign county.
The purchase of your first house.

Just imagine what it will be like when you see Jesus for the very first time. When in the darkest moment of earth’s history and the world seems to be falling apart, the sky begins to open up with the glory of millions of angels bringing the brilliance of heaven. Then Jesus appears, calling the dead in Christ to rise back to life and He sends His angels to gather the faithful family of God.

When we hear of the latest terrorist attack, a massive natural disaster or an outbreak of a serious infection like Ebola or Zika virus, it reminds us of the promise of a world free from sin, disease, destruction and death. So our hearts are drawn to the coming of Christ, when these things will not harm us or anyone else ever again. But the second coming of Jesus is so much more than just finally having safety and security.

The joy of the second coming of Christ is that we finally get to be with Jesus in the face-to-face, eye-to-eye, voice-to-ear, hand-to-shoulder, upfront and personal way like never before. That is the joy to look forward to. Just imagine, this will be the first time in our whole life we will get to see Jesus, talk with Him personally and walk with Him (Revelation 14:1-5). And it won’t stop, we will get to stay with Him.

Having a beautiful home in the new earth, walking on streets of gold, seeing the dazzling glory of the New Jerusalem, never experiencing death is just the coloring in the “icing on the cake,” as it were. The real joy is to be united with our Lord and Savior. Just think, of all the places in the vast reaches of space that God could locate His presence, He will make the restored earth the center of the universe. And you and I get to live with Him here on the new earth.

That is why we can look with great joy for the soon return of Jesus. He is coming for us! God wants us to be with him! The promise of John 14:3 rings in our hearts as Adventists, where Jesus said, “…I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus Himself is longing for the day when He can come and take us home. Hebrews 12:2 shares that when Jesus was enduring the agony of the cross, it was “for the joy that was set before Him” that carried Him through. I believe that joy was the anticipation of coming to welcome us to the home of the redeemed. By His grace, keep looking with joy for the second coming of Jesus.

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