I’ve got to admit, I’m a little bit relieved that the rapture didn’t happen this past Saturday. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been incredible if Jesus had returned. I get pretty sick of this world sometimes, and I’m eager for the day that Jesus returns and undoes all the sadness and wrongness and this-is-totally-messed-up-ness of the world. I’m ready for disease, and tornadoes, and rape, and abortion to be swallowed up by the brilliant rule of King Jesus.
But I also have lots of friends and family members who don’t yet know Jesus. And to be honest, on Saturday I was thinking about them a lot. If Jesus came back before they repented of their sins…
But the rapture didn’t happen on Saturday, and the reason it didn’t happen was because of my unsaved friends and family members. And yours too. 2 Peter 3:9 says:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
The rapture didn’t happen because the Lord is full of patience. He doesn’t want anyone to perish in their sins. God isn’t some sicko who delights in inflicting pain on people. Yes, he is full of justice and will bring wrath on those who reject him, but I also believe that his heart breaks when a person dies in their sins. So he gives them more time to hear the gospel, more time to turn from their sins, and more time see their desperate need for Jesus.
The delay of Jesus’ return also gives us more time to passionately pray for the salvation of those around us, and more time to tell them the good news of the gospel. In some ways I’m grateful for guys like Harold Camping. Does he give Christians a bad name? Yes. I couldn’t help but notice the number of rapture jokes being cracked on Facebook and Twitter on Saturday. But he also reminds us that someday Jesus really will return in all his glory and splendor and judgment. I need to be reminded of that fact because sometimes I get lulled to sleep by the world.
Jesus didn’t return on Saturday, but make no mistake, he is returning. May our prayers and our proclamation burn hot until he does.