We were made for a story and the human heart longs and yearns to play a deep and lasting role in a grand epic tale. Each of us not only wants to hear the story, we not only want to know the story; we want to participate in it and to give our lives with heart and soul to our own unique part of its narrative. And long for this we must. For we indeed have a role to play and part to perform in the greatest narrative of all time—the story that began in a garden so long ago, pinnacled with a Jewish Man crucified upon a cross, and will culminate with the revelation to all of Jesus in His glory and the establishing of His holy Kingdom to the ends of the earth.
So what role do we play in our day and in our time, what part have we to enact in this great story soon to culminate? Jesus described a day that He would be taken from us, the Bridegroom would be taken away and in His delay the friends of the Bridegroom would mourn for Him…would long and ache and groan for His return (Matt. 9:15). Here we are, in the thick of that great delay, with the signs of the times pounding upon our door and the churning of the nations along with the surging of evil seduction raging all around. And in the wake of so great an evil and so trembling a timeframe, the fiery eyes of the enthroned Bridegroom search for the light of burning mourning within the hearts of His friends…within the lives of His bride. He will not return within a vacuum. He will not return without that groan. Though He will come as a thief to those who are of the night, to the sons of the light and of the day He will come as an answer to their own sober groan (1 Thess. 5:4-10). He will return in direct response to their swelling and consuming cry of “Come Lord Jesus.”(Rev. 22:17)
For all those who truly love Jesus, it is a time to mourn. Why? As simply put as He Himself put it, because He is not here (Matt. 9:15). Because He has been taken from us. We are not to live as though things are alright, as though we are satisfied in His absence. And when our hearts deceive us and the world holds sway over our affections in such a way that such a disruptive burning ceases in its sting, then it is time that we must question with sobriety the trueness of our love for Him. We must stir up and strengthen that which remains. We must beseech Him to remove our blinders that dull us so deeply so as to settle us in to friendship with a world that is at enmity with God. We must behold and set our gaze upon His glory, His beauty, His power and His Kingdom, until our affections for Christ burn bright once again and our ache for Him overtakes our apathy.
He will not return without such a groan. Our role to play in this day and in this hour is certain. And it will cost us everything to really carry out. We must be friends of the Bridegroom. We must be those that eagerly await His appearing and live in perpetual longing for that Day that is our blessed hope and our great consolation. We must tear our hearts in a humility that recognizes our own lack of love for Him, our own distance from such groaning. We must set aside our ambitions for our own lives, our hopes that our hinging upon our own pleasure rather than on Christ Himself and we must throw ourselves with abandonment into lives that are consumed solely with Jesus and His return.
It is time to mourn. It is time to fast. It is time to groan. It is time to truly love Jesus.