by Beverly Chao Berrus
Kaitlin was engaged.
My dear friend and I sat down on a park bench one sunny late spring day to have lunch and discuss her wedding plans to Timo, an amazing Christian man from Chile.
And as we sat there having lunch, that’s where Timo was… in Chile. The couple met in Chile where she was studying abroad. After years of friendship and a period of intentional long distance dating, Timo popped the question and Kaitlin said, “YES!” Then Timo went back to Chile to wait for a visa so that he could return, get married, and stay with his wife.
Meanwhile, Kaitlin began shopping for a dress. She looked at reception venues but didn’t book one since the venue may not be available when Timo returned. She investigated invitations but couldn’t print them since the wedding date was unknown. Kaitlin was making progress, but it was initially slow going because of one major detail. No one knew for sure when the groom would be back in town!
I asked Kaitlin how she was doing with this not-knowing of when her fiance would return. She was joyfully trusting the Lord with everything– including the understandably frustrating moments. She was secure in the fact that Timo wanted to marry her and that he was doing all that he could to make that happen. But the fact of the matter was that it is really tricky to plan a wedding when you don’t know when the groom will be there!
My friends’ story is a visceral reminder to me of that great “not-knowing” we Christians share. We don’t know the time and day when Jesus Christ, our great Redeemer King who laid down his own life to pay the bride price for unclean sinners like us, will return for his bride.
In Matthew 24 the disciples ask Jesus how they will know when the end of the age is coming. Jesus’ answer to their question culminates in this statement: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” And Jesus includes this exhortation and warning: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
Jesus’ resurrection from death meant that he had successfully paid the penalty on behalf of those rebels who (by his grace) would take God’s side against their sin and repent, putting their trust in him as their Lord and Savior. When Jesus ascended back into heaven he assured the world that there was coming a Final Day when he would return. On that day he would be reunited with his people for all eternity. For God’s children, this is very good news. This is the stuff hope is made of! We rejoice that this is true!
We also see encouragement after encouragement in Scripture for those who look forward to Jesus’ return:
- Are you on trial for your faith? Hope for the day when you you will see Jesus (Acts 23:6)
- Are you tortured, destitute, or putting your life at risk for the gospel? Refuse to forsake the gospel so that you might receive an even better resurrection (Heb. 11:36)
- Are you struggling with sin? Wait patiently “for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:12-14)”
- Are you weary from suffering? Tired of complacency and discontentment? Disappointed that you constantly need to be reminded of the Savior’s love? Think of that day. Think of that moment when your faith will be sight.
We are a waiting people. We live each day preparing for our Lord’s imminent return because he has promised that he is coming! When that is is not for us to know, but we rest in the fact that our Father has appointed a day when his Son will return. Like Kaitlyn, preparing for her wedding with confidence in her groom’s return, we are a people preparing with our lives for the great wedding feast of the Lamb.
Jonathan Edwards wrote,
“The creation of the world seems to have been especially for this end, that the eternal Son of God might obtain a spouse, towards whom he might fully exercise the infinite benevolence of His nature, and to whom he might, as it were, open and pour forth all that immense fountain of condescension, love and grace that was in his heart, and that in this way God might be glorified” (The Church’s Marriage to Her Sons and to Her God).
Kaitlin faithfully waited for her wedding to Timo which was one year ago this December. May we all by God’s grace faithfully anticipate that day when our Bridegroom returns!
ABOUT THE WRITER
Beverly Chao Berrus was born into a family that practiced the worship of idols and ancestors. She became a Christian in middle school and was born again into the kingdom of heaven. Bev is married to Jason and they have one daughter, Sam. They’ve recently moved from Washington, DC to the United Arab Emirates, where Jason serves on staff at Redeemer Church of Dubai.