Growing up in Colorado, it was a normal summer experience to watch storms in the distance. They were brilliant displays of light I could watch for hours. Then suddenly, the storm was above our heads, and we ran for shelter. In the Great Plains, storms tend to shift without notice. You never know when you will be caught in the deluge, so you learn to watch the skies.
At that time, when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” And he said to the disciples, “The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, ‘Lo, there!’ or ‘Lo, here!’ Do not go, do not follow them. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.”Luke 17.20-25
Lucky for us in Colorado we could see the storm coming and be prepared for what it might do. Still, many were often caught off guard. When we ignore the warning signs of a storm, we get wet. When we ignore the warning signs of God, we risk much more than wet clothes.
In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs.” So, why do I talk of warning signs? The warning signs are in our hearts. Because we know a storm is coming, we prepare by closing windows and wearing raincoats. Since we don’t know when Christ is coming, we must look elsewhere for the signs.
Christ will appear like lightening and there will be no time to prepare once He arrives. IF Christ appears today, will your heart be prepared? Here are some ‘warning signs’ I have developed that might help IF Christ appeared today.
- If you see your worst enemy in heaven, will you be disappointed or angry?
- If you see God loving someone ‘as much’ as He loves you, will you be jealous?
- If you see God forgive someone that ‘shouldn’t be forgiven’, will you feel slighted?
Here’s the deal. You WILL see your worst enemy in heaven. You WILL see God loving someone ‘as much’ as He loves you. You WILL see Him forgive everyone, not just you. If YOU have a problem with that, then the storm won’t be good for YOU.
This is why every morning we pray for another chance to repent. This is why we end each day begging God’s forgiveness and forgiving those who we think have wronged us. When we work to prepare our heart to see what WILL BE when Christ comes, it is like walking around in a raincoat all day.
We all have work to do to prepare. None of us is perfect. That is not the point. When you prepare for the storm, you don’t prepare as if it won’t rain. You prepare so the rain won’t drown you.