Listen to this article instead.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I ask the ten-year-old in my Sunday school class.

“A teacher.”

There’s a short pause after my slightly distracted, “Oh, that’s nice.”

Then, she says, “But really, I just want God to come back.”

This gets my attention. I know she’s talking about Jesus. “How come?” 

“So I can see my mom again,” came the predictable reply. Her mom recently passed away.

She continues, “Although, we can’t really know what God has decided about somebody else. Can we? Do you know?”

The weight and thoughtfulness of this question upend all of the thoughts that previously occupied my mind. Any concern I have had during this whole week can’t match her concern.

I give her the Sunday school answers, which we scorn for their pat-ness, but which we still seek for their correct-ness. No, we can’t know about someone else’s salvation. Yes, we can know about our own. No, I don’t have any special insight. Yes, we can grieve as those who have hope. Yes, God is loving and just, and we can trust Him.

“Well,” she smiles, “then I want Him to come back.”

It is enough for her. In this moment, I remember that He is enough for me too. How selfish I have been this week! How distracted! How totally forgetful of His promise to return!

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

“I want Him to come back too,” I say and mean it.

No church event, book sales chart, household concern, or current event holds a candle to the importance of this hope. No fear, worry, relationship problem, or sin can erase it. 

Winter still has an icy grasp on my region of the country (and today is April 22!), but we all know spring is coming. One day, the glacial ice pack in my yard will fade to reveal green grass. One day, the trees will bud and blossom. One day, the sun will warm my skin. One day, we’ll plant a garden, and then later, bear fruit.

I have complete assurance in this hope, conviction in the buds I cannot yet see. 

However, Jesus could return first. Am I ready? Do I live in constant awareness of His footstep at the door?

So, let me ask you, what do you want to be when you grow up? What are your plans, your hopes, your dreams? 

I hope, like my young friend, that we are all able to answer, “Well, this, but I really just want Jesus to come back,” forsaking our own selfish agendas in favor of His plan, which is so much greater, and trusting in the goodness of His presence and promise.

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