A few weeks ago, I had the joy of visiting my west coast granddaughters. During our excursions, my sweet, little two-year-old granddaughter would let our destination know we were on our way by announcing, “I’m coming!” As soon as the latch of her car seat was secured, she would say, “I’m coming, Sea World!” The closer we got, the more emphatic she got, “I’M COMING, SEA WORLD!” By the time we pulled into the parking lot, I fully expected the dolphins to be applauding our arrival. She’s the cutest thing.
It got me thinking of when Jesus said “I’m coming” at the end of the book of Revelation. Like little Taylor’s announcement, this one, too, is full of expectation and wonder. And, like hers, his is repeated three times, with the last one sounding a little more emphatic, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Sea World didn’t know Taylor’s arrival at their ocean-themed entrance was imminent, even though she was imploring them all along our 10-minute drive there. We, on the other hand, can (and should) be watching and waiting eagerly for Jesus’ coming. He didn’t wait until the end of the book to tell us he was coming back. Throughout his ministry, he said he would have to leave this world, once he paid the debt we owed, but he would come back after preparing a place for us. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3)
Sea World welcomed us through the gates just like they welcome everyone else. They were happy to see us, but we were nothing special to them, even though we are season ticket holders with a two-year-old who practically dances through the gate. And the child has the power to get her mom-mom to touch sharks! Yet Sea World does not recognize her as anything special. But they were ready for us–they had their smiles on and their cameras ready. The dolphins were warmed up, ready to perform. Everything was set up to guide us to the shark tanks and make sure we passed by or through the themed gift shops at the end of each attraction.
When Jesus comes again, not everyone will be ready for his appearance, but everyone will recognize who he is. For some it will be that sinking feeling of regret like never felt before, way more than when the roller coaster starts moving and you think you may have made a mistake. This one is forever. There won’t be any mistaking who he is. Stars will be falling from the sky. Trumpets will be blowing. Don’t worry, you’re not going to miss it, no matter where you are. But for those who have been waiting and watching for him, their excitement will be overflowing. And they will dance through heaven’s gates with great joy, a joy that will last forever. “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming again.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)