“He isn’t here. He is an American and we were very late.”
Those were the words of a young woman in Constanta Romania during my last trip there at Christmas time in 2005. I was there to help a partner church with their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. One evening there was a Christmas party for college students. I was waiting outside the apartment building for her and her brother for a ride to the church.
They had told me they would be there at 5pm. I waited until 5:15pm and then I thought something happened, so I took the bus. They arrived at 5:30pm. The brother suggested I was in the apartment. The sister said, “He isn’t here. He is an American and we were very late. He took the bus.”
They walked into the church and saw me. The sister laughed and told her brother, “I told you.” She shared with me what happened and we had a good laugh.
Over the years, I have come to appreciate the different views about timeliness among different cultures.
God has a specific time set for when Jesus will return to earth. But it is not for us to know. When Jesus was asked about when he would set up the kingdom, his answer in Acts 1 was:
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
It is not for us to know the time Jesus will return. But we have work to do. Jesus wants us to share him with others. But God is not slow about the promise of Christ’s return. Peter wrote in 2nd Peter 3:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
God is being patient, for now, because of his desire for people to come to know Jesus as their Savior. But the day is coming for Christ’s return. Until then Jesus has work for us to do.
Thank you for reading. God Bless.