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Child Shows Best Way to Prepare for Christ's Return

Wendy Murray Zoba writes in Christianity Today magazine:

If, as Jesus said, we cannot know the hour or the day [of his return], yet we also see the signs, how are we to be both ready to go and resigned to wait?

According to the apostle Peter, the scoffers say: "Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. … Where is this 'coming' he promised?" (2 Peter 3:4; all Scripture quotations from the NIV). But he reminds us that the Lord's tarrying means salvation for more. Still, Peter poses the question: "What kind of people ought you to be … as you look forward to the day of God?" (3:11-12).

His answer: "You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God … looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth" (3:12-13).

[Here is a story] that can fill in what "looking forward" might mean.

When our middle son, Ben, was much younger, he had heard more than one sermon about the importance of surrendering our lives to Christ. Ben seemed well-attuned to the heart of God; he exhibited the selfless and kind tendencies that would take some—like his mother—a lifetime of sanctification to acquire. So it disturbed my husband and me when Ben stubbornly resisted our invitations for him to give his life to Christ. He would offer no explanations; he would simply tell us in his preschool English that he wasn't ready.

He resisted for several months. Then, one morning as we sat around the kitchen table eating our Cheerios, little Ben announced that he was ready to give his life to Christ. He then got up from the table and went upstairs. My husband and I looked at each other and followed him. I guess we expected to find Ben on his knees in prayer. We didn't. Instead, we found him folding his Star Wars pajamas into his Sesame Street suitcase.

We said, "Ben, what are you doing?"

He answered, "Packing."

"Why?" we asked.

"To go to heaven," he said.

We then understood why our child hesitated to give his life to Christ. He thought that in so doing, he would have to leave us and take up residence, literally, with Christ in heaven.

We should all possess the faith of little Benjamin: we should have our hearts so fixed on Christ's appearance that the attachments of our earthly life pale in comparison. For we are "aliens and strangers on earth … longing for a better country—a heavenly one" (Hebrews 11:13).

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