One day the last saint will finish running her race.
Can you see the cloud of heavenly witnesses up on their feet? Can you hear the deafening roar of approval and encouragement from those who came before her? Can you see the angels marvel, cheering wildly as she enters the arena and crosses the finish line in faith?
And then a trumpet will ring out over all the earth, and the sun and wind and rushing waters will stand still, and every knee will bow. It is finished. Time under the sun will be unquestionably complete. The End of all things will have come, and also the Beginning.
I wonder. Will it be reverently – expectantly – hushed immediately after the trumpet sounds? Will even the demons hold their breath in wonder at the true King’s return?
Or will it be like a joyous wedding proccessional? All creation unshackled and raucously engaged in an rhapsodic symphony? The demons slithering away.
It can be hard to hold two important truths in our limited human understanding, or at least it is for me: 1) The God of all creation desires that none should perish, and 2) There will come a day when time on earth will cease and there will be a very real reckoning.
For in the fullness of God’s time, the Good Shepherd will return as the rightful king to gather his flock, not one missing, and bring them all home to God.
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am…” (John 17)
HIs flock will include sheep from every nation, tongue, burough, and tribe. A flock more numerous than the stars in the desert sky.
“Father, you know that I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well. They will listen to my voice, and then there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10)
But what about the others? What about them?
This we must leave in the hands of the perfectly merciful and just God who made them and knows them best. He is not arbitrary or cruel. No man can ever “out-compassion” the LORD our God.
“I haven’t come to comdemn the world, but to rescue the world.” (John 3)
For each of us is given life under the sun, a certain race to run in this world, so we might come awake to the great faithfulness and worthiness of our Good Shepherd.
Moses was urgent to reveal God’s own words to his flock in the wilderness: “But if you will seek the LORD your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and all your soul.” (Deut. 4)
And the prophets were not afraid to declare God’s simple words to his flock in exile: “Seek me and live.” (Amos 5) “Come. Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen to me, so that your soul may live.” (Isaiah 55)
And still the Good Shepherd speaks so that his sheep might hear his voice and live.
The final trumpet has not yet rung out over the earth.
Will we seek Him earnestly until it does?
We have not yet come to the finish-line of this life.
Will we trust him with everything until we do?
God has given us breath enough for this hour.
Do we want to be where he is? Where his people are?
A cloud of witnesses are on up on their feet as we run our race! Will we listen to their encouragement and throw off everything that entangles, distracts, and keeps us from following our Good Shepherd closely to the end?
Peace to you today, “…for a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will LIVE…” (John 5)
Thanks be to God who was, and is, and is to come!