Nobody likes to wait. When you're anticipating some exciting event in your life — next year's vacation, buying a new car, meeting old friends again — even a wait of a few months seems like forever. But the people of God have waited over the centuries, living and dying in the hope of a future occurrence. And those of us in God's Church today follow in their footsteps, basing our lives on the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of God's Kingdom on the earth.
Scoffers will come
To people without our understanding, this behavior seems odd, even ludicrous. The apostle Peter warned: "Scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, 'Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation' " (II Pet. 3:3-4, Revised Standard Version throughout). How many times have you come face to face with this same line of reasoning? "It's always been like this," people will tell you. Yet, you know it really is different now. The world is far more dangerous, far more volatile than ever before. Peter is writing about nonbelievers who cynically scoff at the fact that Christ will return. But what about members of God's Church — true Christians who look to and believe in the return of Jesus Christ? The Bible does show that if we are not careful, we, too, can drift into a state where Christ's return seems so distant as to be unreal. Ideally, our zeal for the Christian way of life should not be polluted by others' speculations and doubts. But we're all human, aren't we? Any of us could fall into the attitude of the evil servant: "But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful" (Luke 12:45-46).
Certainty of divine promises
The evil servant's mistake was that he confused divine promises and divine timing with human promises and human timing. With human beings, it may indeed be true that "it'll never come," but with God this isn't the case. The word of God is absolutely certain. Notice this testimony from one of His prophets: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and returns not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:10-11). Whatever God's Word tells us about Christ's return and His Kingdom is real — just as real as our day-to-day lives — just as real as the magazine you now hold in your hands. God's promises are true. As God also recorded among His prophecies about the future: "Still the vision awaits its time; it hastens to the end — it will not lie. If it seem slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay" (Hab. 2:3).