After putting the kids to bed, I sat back and turned on the television to enjoy a sporting event that had been recorded earlier. One of my favorite teams was playing for a tournament championship. I had avoided looking at the TV during the day, not wanting any news of the score to spoil my enjoyment of the game. I was ready to cheer my team on to a victory it may or may not have already won.
As the commentators began their pre-game talk, one stated that the opposing club could pull off an upset.
“But they didn’t,” my wife casually mentions in passing. I looked at her in disbelief. “I saw the score earlier,” she said. “Didn’t you notice?”
We got a good laugh out of her unwitting revelation, but the damage was done. The surprise was gone, and I knew my team was victorious. I still hit “play” to see how the game would proceed, but I watched with confidence because the result was already determined.
I thought about that incident as I read through 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 this week. Jesus’ return is described in certain terms. He will come in power and those who have placed their faith and trust in him will join in the resurrection. There is no hesitation in those verses, no uncertainty. Just like the victor in the game I watched, the fact of Jesus’ return is certain even if it has not happened yet.
Such confidence is the basis for the Christian’s hope. We have a God who is faithful and true — if he promises something, it is certain to happen. We should gain joy and pleasure at the certainty of our future with him. We know who is victorious, even if we haven’t seen the end ourselves.
— Steve Howell oversees the adult education ministry at Tonganoxie Christian Church.