(a blog post from 2006, before our first daughter arrived)
I was ready.
There I stood, pen and notebook in hand; every contraction from the past 4 hours written down on paper. All the signs were there. They had started at 6 minutes apart, and moved all the way to 2 minutes apart, and stayed consistent for the past 2 hours. All the signs were there. Time to move. We headed home, grabbed the bags that were already packed and by the door, called the doctor, and headed to the hospital.
Once at the hospital, they hooked Sarah up to the monitors and we saw that we were right; contractions every 2 minutes consistently. This is it. All the signs are there. Addison is coming. She didn’t come that night. After contracting for 2 more hours, and being tested, the nurses told Sarah and I that perhaps this was a “false labor”. Addison was not coming when we thought. We would have to wait. We could wait there at the hospital, or go home on our own. But either way, we had to wait. It was tempting to stay at the hospital. It was tempting to go home and sit on our hands, waiting for any more signs that Addison had decided to come. Unfortunately, all the experts say that’s one of the worst things you can do. So what do they recommend? Live your life as normal as possible. Remember Addison is coming, and allow your life to point towards that, but don’t give up living to worry about it. Continue to prepare for her. As frustrating as this all was, it’s given me one stellar illustration for a sermon. And I’m gonna let it out here, so if I preach and use this…pretend you’ve never heard it.
It’s the year 2006 (okay, 2013 today). War is once again heated up in the Middle East (Syria this time). Leaders of Nations are rising and falling. Earthquakes, floods, and other large events are spreading suffering and destruction. All the signs are there. Funny, this sounds familiar.
The truth is, all the signs have been there time after time after time. From those who read Revelation as a timeline to Armegeddon, all the way to those who think Jesus is gonna come back in a limousine (not many people hopefully), people have been watching to try and figure out when God will usher in His Kingdom. 100AD, 1000AD, 2000AD, Nero, Hitler, the fall of Rome, the Soviet Union, the Y2K crisis, and many events in between these have been looked at before their occurance as “God’s return”. All the signs were there. Thoughts like these spark great living, but also dangerous living.
If Sarah and I had stayed at the hospital that night, fully expecting Addison’s arrival, we would still be there 3 days later. Instead, we went home, and lived our lives in continued preparation for her.
To hope and pray for God to usher all of creation into His Kingdom is an incredible thing. To forget to live this life because we hope He will come tomorrow is a misuse of all we’ve been given. As His creation, we have been in the birth pangs of the Coming Kingdom for centuries. We have had many “false labors”, and the truth is, we will probably have many more. Does that mean we go home, and forget that God is even coming? Not at all!!! It would have been easy to be so disappointed, that we went home, and pretended we weren’t even having a baby. But then what? Addison would’ve come anyway, and we wouldn’t have been ready at all.
Instead, we realize we’ve been given more time to prepare!!! Friends, we HAVE been given more time to prepare this world for the Coming Kingdom of God. Maybe days, maybe weeks, years, maybe even millennia. But that doesn’t negate the fact that God IS returning! He has given us that promise throughout scripture. We find just one of the many references in Acts chapter 3:
“…that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets…”
So here we are with a choice. What can we do to prepare for His arrival? What can you do this week? What can you do with your life? The answer is: LIVE IT. A statement I heard when I was in college put these things in a great perspective for me. If God doesn’t bring His completion until the year 10,000; the years we’re living right now will be seen as the “beginning” of Christianity. How are we affecting the world from that perspective? Are we? Or are we sitting at the hospital, doing nothing with our life, just hoping God will come tonight?