But we must each wait our turn. Christ was the first to be raised to life, and his people will be raised to life when he returns. 1 Cor. 15:23 (CEV)

You see it all the time on television. A person in the service comes home and surprises a young son or daughter. The return was unexpected. It was a ‘someday in the future’ kind of thing. We see the other end too. We see spouses and children and tears and good-bye’s. We get a glimpse of the anguish when news comes that our loved one isn’t coming home.

What we don’t see, unless we are personally involved, is the in-between times. The times when a child or a spouse needs a hug or when a parent longs for their child to walk through the door. We don’t see the bills that keep coming, the local news that keeps happening, and the doctor visits that bring bad news. The struggles and pain that come from everyday life keep happening. The pain of growing up or growing old continues its relentless course. Pain that should be shared, but now, must be handled alone.

No one, except for those personally involved, really knows the struggle of family when we miss a service-person. We know (or hope) they’ll be back. We aren’t always sure when or how they will have changed, or how life will be different from when they left. But for the Christ-follower we have an idea.

Those who go away to war promise they will return. Sometimes those promises are true, sometimes not. All of us as parents make promises that we have every intention of fulfilling, yet because of life are unable to hold to.

Not so with Jesus. I imagine when the disciples watched Jesus disappear into the clouds they were like the crowds on the tarmac as the plane full of loved ones (not just troops, loved ones) pulls away. They anxiously awaited his return. It didn’t come of course. Not yet anyway. But like a spouse or a child or some other loved one we anxiously await his return.

He’s coming back you know. He said he would. And unlike the promises of those who hope to come back, he will. We don’t know when he will return. We just know he will. Period.

He didn’t promise there wouldn’t be times of loneliness and trials. He didn’t promise we’d be free of heartache. Jesus’ promises mean something because everything he promised so far has come true. Just like he said it would. Parents can’t or don’t always keep their promises for a variety of reasons. Jesus will always keep his!

PRAYER: Jesus. There are so many times I wish I could just see you, hold you, and to look into your eyes when I share my heart. Like a lonely child who misses a parent I look forward to seeing you return. Until then, please help me cope with the fear and pain and loneliness I endure here on earth. I miss you. Amen.