The year of Our Lord...2007. It doesn't seem possible...at least to me. You see, I've believed for the past thirty years or so that Jesus was coming back before the end of each particular year. I readily admit that, at first, it was a fascination with both dispensationalism and the approaching end of one Millennium and the beginning of another. Later, as my dispensational views began to alter with study of the text, it became a more serious personal belief/longing that He would return that particular year and a conviction that He was going to do just that.
My Father-in-law, Fred Cherry, a Southern Baptist Evangelist, preached a message for years entitled "why I believe I'll be alive when Jesus comes." He died on October 29th 1970. It was devastating to his family and to me personally. Not just his death, that was difficult enough. But what about his message? Could he have been wrong to preach such a thing?
He always started that message with this statement. "Since you don't know when Jesus is returning and I don't know when I'm going to die, I have as much right to say I WILL be alive as you do to say I won't." having said that...he preached on his conviction that Jesus was coming soon. I have to say it infected me with that same belief and longing.
But what do you do with his message? At Fred's memorial service a long-time pastor and friend, Keith Wiggington, said these words. "Some of you will be wondering about Fred's message, 'Why I believe I'll be alive when Jesus comes.' [He must be a mind reader, he sure read mine.] Should Fred have preached it? I believe God is infinitely more pleased with a person who truly believes that he or she will be alive when Jesus comes, and says so, but dies, than He is with one who doesn't believe that, or care about His return and lives to see it." Nuff said. I returned to my assurance of His return each year.
So, the end of 2006 has come. I'm surprised. 2007 is beginning. It will not end without Jesus returning is my firm conviction, belief, desire. But, as one year ends and another begins, it truly is the Year of Our Lord...2007. May I say to all of you...Happy New Year...and get ready...