Son of Man Returning
Jesus is coming back soon.
And yet, in the hustle of our very busy and highly distracted lives, it’s hard to keep on the forefront of our awareness this very real and soon coming reality - Jesus’ imminent return.
This is part of why I felt God was leading me in this season to begin painting, “The Son of Man Returning.” It began with a picture He showed me in my minds eye during worship of a fig being cut in half. This led me to look up all the verses in the Bible regarding fig trees and this verse in particular jumped out at me from Matthew 24:
"Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that He is near, right at the door...
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day on which your Lord will come. But understand this: If the homeowner had known in which watch of the night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. For this reason, you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour you do not expect.”
In reading this passage I suddenly felt the Lord’s urgency to once again remind myself and others that His return is not far off - indeed it will happen when we least expect it if we do not keep watch. We must do now as Joel urges us:
"Consecrate a fast; proclaim a solemn assembly! Gather the elders and all the residents of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD... For the Day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:14-15)
Will we be ready for this day? As I was painting this harbinger, I felt the Lord’s desire for us to cry out for His mercy and heed the same warning which Jeremiah gave to God’s people regarding the good figs and the bad figs:
“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians. My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them. I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” (Jer. 24:5-7)
It is these children of God, represented by the good figs, who are willing to acknowledge their need for discipline from the Lord. They are not so blinded by their sin that they are unable to humble themselves under His hand, asking Him to wean them from the world, deliver them from idolatry and teach them to pray.
Even the Lord’s afflictions can be for our good and His intentions are never in vain. Will you and I be the few in our day who will learn to fear Him and love His correction, even as we watch for His soon coming return?
I believe we are in a time where God is dividing our hearts and preparing us for His return just as He divided the good figs from the bad figs. Will we humble ourselves and answer the call for reformation? We are entering days where the truth will be hard to distinguish from the lies. Only those who are not wise in their own eyes will be able to discern the difference.
If we do, I believe, even in the midst of judgement, we will see His compassion as David describes:
“...the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, and those whose hope is in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.” (Psalm 33:18)
Hold onto hope dear friends, wait on His unfailing love and keep watch - it will not be long before we see the “Son of Man” coming on the clouds with power and great glory. When that day comes, stand and lift up your head, because your redemption draws near! And hear Him say the words He has longed to speak to His bride for generations:
“Arise, my darling. Come away with me, my beautiful one.
For now the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
The flowers have appeared in the countryside; the season of singing has come, and the cooing of turtledoves
is heard in our land. The fig tree ripens its figs; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come away, my darling; come away with me, my beautiful one."
(Song of Solomon 2:10-13)