3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world? — Matt. 24:3 NLT
Ever since Jesus ascended into heaven with His promise of returning, people have asked the question — When? The disciples had even questioned Jesus about this before His death and resurrection. Is when important and if so, why is it important? If we knew for sure Jesus was coming back at the end of this month, would it make a difference? Would it cause us to be more diligent in witnessing to our family, friends and neighbors? Would we be more committed to living a Holy lifestyle? Would it change our priorities? Would we gather our families around us and hold on to them tightly? Would we mourn or rejoice? Would we say. “even so, Lord, come quickly” or would we ask Him for a few more days to be sure our families were all saved? If we are truly honest with ourselves, would it really make any difference? If it would, then why doesn’t it make a difference even now? Only the Father knows when Jesus will return and only the Father knows when each of us will leave here. Since we don’t know either of these times, doesn’t it make sense to assume that it is today and live our lives accordingly? Shouldn’t we live each day seeking first the Kingdom of God and trust God to take care of the rest? If we could get to that point, then peace would overflow our hearts and life here on earth would be “joy unspeakable and full of glory”! Then “when” would become unimportant.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls. — 1 Peter 1:8, 9 NKJV
6 So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. .—1 Peter 1:6-8 (NLT)
We must have genuine faith to endure the trials and hardships here on earth. Our faith will be tested on many occasions. Through these tests and temptations we will grow stronger in our walk with the Lord. We must remember that we will never be tempted with anything that is not common to others, it will never be more than we can bear, and there is always a way out it we want to escape the temptation. 13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.-1 Cor. 10:13 (NLT)
So we must press on to heaven. We will have our reward when Jesus Christ is revealed. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus”. (Hymn by John H Sammis, circa 1887) We love and trust Jesus because He gave Himself for us. That hope is what brings us joy and peace.