I seriously thought we would be out of here in 2020, then in 2021 and 2022 and 2023. Yet here we are, still waiting and longing and hoping. Might 2024 be the year? Or will we be called to endure another year, God’s gift of time offered to this lost and dying world? If another year is required of us, how might we better embrace the waiting?
I admit I’m not the best at waiting patiently. I’m guessing you’re not either. If you’re anything like me, you’ve done more complaining than embracing along the way. How can we not with the sorrow and turmoil we experience in our families and in this world? Some days, I find it hard to view our extended time here as we wait for the Lord as an opportunity for the lost rather than a burden to the found. I’m burdened. Every. Single. Day.
I host a group on Zoom for rapture watchers. Folks from all over the U.S. meet to discuss last-days topics (You’re always invited. See more here). Last week, Nancy (aka my mom) closed us out in prayer. She thanked the Lord for our time here (on earth) and even asked that He leave us a little while longer to reach the lost. Jokingly, I told her we were kicking her off the prayer team for asking for more time. But deep down, her prayer struck a nerve with me. It’s something I’ve written about a few times: how they, the lost, are worth our extended time here. I know we all “know” that, but it’s still a tough prayer to pray. So thanks, Mom, for praying from your heart and piercing mine.
I wasn’t the only one to carry this thought over to the next day. Kim L. from our group posted in the Gathering Telegram channel about how Paul reminded us in 1 Corinthians 10 of Israel’s mistakes in the wilderness, how God had saved them, yet most of them had not pleased Him. One of the ways they had tried the Lord was that they “became impatient because of the journey” (Numbers 21).
Kim went on to say:
“This brought to mind something said last night, the reminder that God still has us here for a purpose, to serve Him and trust Him, that others might be saved. Even in our longing for His appearing, may we, may I, not become impatient and complain. Our whole eternity, our rewards, hinge upon this journey.”
That sounds a little too familiar. I, like Israel, have become “impatient because of the journey” and complain a little too often along the way. I think most of us rapture watchers can be found guilty of grumbling and complaining at times as our sufferings only increase, and we cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus!” We long to go home to be with Him, and rightly so.
I don’t intend to try and make us feel guilty for our longing to be with Jesus. We’re told in 2 Timothy 4:8 that there is reserved a crown of righteousness “to all who have loved His appearing.” Revelation 22:17 says, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Each day, with every headline that only reminds us of the ever-increasing wickedness of our world, our longings only increase. We’re not supposed to feel at home or at ease here. Of course, we say, “Come!”
Those are scriptural proofs that our longings are justified. But even from an earthly perspective, we need only look at the anticipation of a bride who eagerly plans for and awaits her wedding day to validate our longing. Every day that passes, the bride attends to each little detail: the dress, the flowers, the food, and the guests. There isn’t a moment that passes that she doesn’t long for the wedding. As grand as the day will be, it’s not the preparation or even the day she actually longs for; it’s about being joined together with her groom. Same with us. We long for our Groom.
We know we can look for and long for His glorious appearing without guilt, yet how might we view His current delay from a perspective that will allow us to embrace the wait?
I’ve been working on “how I wait” since 2020. Most of my journey, however, has often been focused on me not waiting in fear. The answer to that was found in Hebrews 12:2, for me to fix my eyes on Jesus and not on all the evil and what-ifs that could happen. Now, this current season of learning to embrace the wait without complaining brings this same passage back into view. The verse in its entirety adds an additional element of depth from which to glean, “…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…”
I have joy set before me, a wedding unrivaled by even the most elaborate royal wedding on earth. There’s a glorified body in my near future. I’ll have no more tears or aches or pains or worldly sorrows. Sin will finally have no place in my life. I’ll finally forever be with my Savior! Those joys set before me increase my eager anticipation of Jesus’ appearing, but they also tend to foster impatience and complaining on my part since I want them now. It’s easy to forget the rest of verse 2, how, because of the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross. I suspect I’m not the only believer who wants the joy without the cross.
I’m not referring to our individual-to-us crosses. We all have them in increasing numbers these days. I want, instead, to focus on the one cross we do share: a slow-ticking clock. As evil increases with exponential quickness, our wait for that trumpet blast seems to be dragging by with excruciating slowness. Time feels like an enemy. The more time we’re here, the more we will see. We want our time to be up, our wait to be over.
What if, however, our extended time here brings many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10)? I read an interesting article (2024: Black Swan Event Coming?) about how 2024 may bring a black swan event, one that will once again alter the course of our nation and the world. Included were excerpts from a CNN article, “How 2023 has been the’ year of the brink’ and 2024 could be worse.” Even a CNN reporter sees and admits that we are on the brink of catastrophe.
If there is a black swan event, a crisis that changes the course of the world, maybe it will be the rapture. But what if it isn’t? What if it’s a natural disaster or global war or cyberattack or another pandemic? A friend recently posed the question: What if this event, whatever it may be, is the answer to our prayers? What if those we are praying for now come to salvation due to harder times—like massively hard times—ahead? Can’t we endure, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the harder times with them?
These sobering thoughts and questions lead to our next answer in how to wait with patience and hopefully without complaining. We fix our eyes on people, those whom Jesus died to save. “They,” the lost, really are worth our extended time here. Are you investing your time in praying for them and reaching out to those willing to listen? Are you using your time wisely in sharing the truth with other believers so that they may see the urgency to pray for and reach out to the lost in their lives?
A phrase that’s been echoing in my head since long before 2020 was, write, Lisa, write, and do not waste time. Even before 2020 showed me the nearness of the rapture, the Spirit within drove me to invest in the kingdom. I pray that same sense of urgency over us all now more than ever. What is your gift and calling? Whatever it is, insert that and your name into the italicized phrase above and live it out. We can’t have much longer, so time really is of the essence.
Every day that God tarries is His gift of mercy toward the lost and His attempt to save many from the coming destruction. He isn’t running late or watching the clock. He’s waiting patiently for that last soul to open the door and bid Him come. Every lost and lonely heart matters to Him just as our once lost and lonely hearts mattered and kept Him waiting.
That helps me embrace the wait, the reminder of His gift of patience with me. I really must have tried God’s patience over the years as I kept Him waiting, not for my salvation but for my surrender. In remembering how His love for me was so patient and kind, can I not extend that same love toward others by patiently waiting for Him as He waits for them? “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Time isn’t the enemy. It’s an evangelistic tool given to each of us as the clock is running down. In knowing that, whatever God has given you the heart to do, do it with all your heart. Serve the coming King with all you’ve got.
While this isn’t a topic I have time to explore in this article, consider once more Kim’s words I shared above, “Our whole eternity, our rewards, hinge upon this journey.” What we see as the slow passing of time is more than a gift of mercy to the lost. This time is a gift to us as well, one we shouldn’t want to escape, considering our rewards in heaven will be dependent upon our well-serving the King here on earth. “Let us not lose heart in doing good” (Galatians 6:9).
For the record, I know I’ll complain on occasion. You will, too. Whether we’re given the gift of one month in 2024 or twelve, embrace the wait, fixing your eyes on Jesus and on people while still crying out, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”
If you would like to consider the topic further, feel free to check out our small-group discussion questions for the Gathering in PDF form here.
Embracing with you,
If you would like to read Lisa’s previous Rapture Ready articles, you can find them here: Lisa’s Rapture Ready Articles/Series.
Join a group of rapture watchers from across the U.S. who meet twice a month on Zoom to discuss last-days topics in a small group format. More info here: Daybreak Gathering.
Other Free Resources:
Daybreak, Last Days of Light – Free ebook download
About Daybreak with Lisa:
Daybreak is a way of life, one of exposing the rising darkness and telling of the soon-coming Light. We only have so many daybreaks remaining before that final sunset when we, as believers, are caught up in the air to meet Jesus.
As an author, Lisa Heaton is a storyteller with a heart for truth. Her greatest desire in her fiction and nonfiction work is to challenge the reader to discover the truth of who Jesus is and who they are to Him. Now, here as we wait for the any-minute arrival of Jesus for His church in the rapture, Lisa’s latest mission is to warn the lost and wake the found and to help others discover their unique voice to share the truth of our times. More at DaybreakWithLisa.com. Contact Lisa at Lisa@LisaHeatonBooks.com.