One spiritual discipline that can enable us to get through seasons of adversity is to live everyday in anticipation and expectation of our Lord’s return. The author of Hebrews refers to this in Hebrews 9:28. “So also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await Him He will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation.” The reference I’m referring to is the phrase, “Those who eagerly await Him.”
First of all, remember the letter to the Hebrews was written to first century Jews. They would be very familiar with the concept of this phrase because this described the attitude of Jewish believers in Jehovah on the Day of Atonement. Once a year their high priest took the blood of the sacrifice and went out of their sight into the holy of holies. The minutes that the high priest was behind the veil making atonement for sin probably seemed like hours. Would God accept their sacrifice? Would the high priest re-emerge? They anxiously awaited his reappearance. Finally, he would reappear, and the people would rejoice. No matter what else was going on in their lives, the faithful were at the temple to eagerly await the reappearance of their high priest.
Do we eagerly await the return of our High Priest, Jesus Christ? As Paul faced martyrdom, he wrote, “Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day – and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Setting our affection on His appearing, or eagerly awaiting Him speaks to someone’s lifestyle of an upward or forward look. What we are looking at or who we are looking for has so captivated our attention that other things do not command our attention any longer. This life no longer becomes our focus. Our focus is on Jesus and the life yet to come. “Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).
Friends, please hear what I’m about to say. Living this way is not a form of escapism, where we neglect our responsibilities. It is not as some would suggest “becoming so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.” It is bringing God very practically and powerfully into every detail and dimension of our lives. Always add God to the equation of life. Don’t ever exclude Him. I call this the God factor. Never leave God out but always navigate life, especially seasons of adversity through Him. Remind yourself each day as you eagerly await Him that He’s preparing a place for you (John 14:1-3). Remember that your life on this earth is but a vapor (James 4:14), and that whatever you are enduring is brief compared to the eternity that awaits you (Romans 8:18). Remind yourself everyday that whatever you are dealing with includes the Lord Jesus Christ – Ruler of the universe and Almighty God! His wisdom, power, and grace are available to you continually ! This is what our hearts and minds should be set on each and every day. Every part of our lives we do in partnership with God and His infinite resources. This when we discover how to really live. Our invisible life with God is lived through our visible life down here. Live it up!