As children are prone to do, whenever he would set off on various road trips with his family as a child, he would inevitably get around to asking, “Are we there yet?” Almost invariably, the reply from his father or mother in the front seat would be something like this: “We’ll be there when we get there!”
In due course, though, Dr. Jones’ father decided on another approach. In response to his son’s ever predictable request, he gave him a road map, which had been marked with both the starting point and the ending point of their journey together.
The accompanying assignment was simple. Young Timothy was to follow the progression of their trip by looking at the map and hunting signposts and other such markers that would help him to have a general sense of where they were on their journey. These markers would also help him to approximate how much longer they might be expected to travel.
These days, Dr. Jones uses this story as a way of summarizing his thoughts on the second coming of Jesus Christ. As children of the Heavenly Father, we know that we are on a journey through time. There will certainly come a day when this journey will be concluded, as the events surrounding the end of time itself come to pass.
Along the way, however, we often grow impatient. As a result, we are often inclined to ask, “Are we there yet?” And if the answer is “Not yet!” (as it has obviously always has been), then, almost immediately, we are inclined to ask: “Then how much further?”
Now, our Heavenly Father could easily give us the exact answer to these questions. It is solely His prerogative either to do so or not to do so. And He chooses not to do so. Why is this? Ultimately, of course, the reasons for this are known only to Him.
Perhaps, however, His reason is so that we will be made to continue to walk by faith, as He desires, and not by sight, as we might prefer.
Instead, He gives us a map that helps us to get a sense of where we are along this journey. This map is His Word (or the Bible); and it gives us markers along the way for which we must be on the lookout. When we see these, we know that we are getting close. As Jesus says (in the New Testament Gospel of Luke, chapter 21, verse 28): “When these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
As a believer, I know what it is like to cry out in my heart and say, “Are we there yet?!” “If not, then how much further?!” I see the wickedness in this world and I long for the culmination of human history and the fulfillment of God’s promise of redemption.
And yet, it is this very wickedness, recurring as it now does in so many places and at such a frequent rate, which assures me that we are indeed getting close. For this reason, these days, I find myself less looking down in despair and more looking up in joyful anticipation, knowing that our redemption surely is drawing near!
“Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
AUTHOR: Dr. Timothy Paul Jones resides in Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as a Professor and Associate Vice President at one of the largest seminaries in the world, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. According to his official bio, “Here, I invest my time in mentoring a rising generation of God-called ministers of the gospel.” He also serves as a pastor at the Midtown congregation of Sojourn Community Church. He has written extensively in the fields of Christian Apologetics and Family Ministry.
WEBSITE: Dr. Jones own personal web site can be found here: http://www.timothypauljones.com/.
SEE ALSO: http://www.sbts.edu/academics/faculty/timothy-paul-jones/.
STORY: Dr. Timothy Paul Jones, Four Views of the End Times (Peabody, MA: Rose Publishing, 2010). Dr. Jones has produced a six volume DVD set on this topic. The complete kit includes the DVD teaching sessions, as well as leader’s and participant’s guides. As is the case with so much of Dr. Jones’ material, a parallel printed work has also been written.
NOTE: Dr. Jones has two other significant works: "How We Got The Bible" and "Christian History Made Easy" - both available through Rose Publishing in DVD and companion book formats. I highly recommend each of these two items.
SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: http://biblehub.com/luke/21-28.htm and http://biblehub.com/revelation/22-20.htm.