Living on Purpose: Will the return of Christ interfere with your plans?
By Dr. William Holland
Henry Allan “Harry” Ironside was a Canadian-American Bible teacher, preacher, theologian, pastor, and author who pastored Moody Church in Chicago from 1929 to 1948. It is said that Harry Ironside was one of the most prolific Christian writers of the 20th Century and published more than 100 books, booklets, and pamphlets, many of which are still in print. He also wrote several hymns including “Overshadowed” “His Grace Proclaim” and “The Wonder of His Love to Me.” One editorial reviewer wrote in a 2005 republication that, “Ironside’s commentaries are a Christian standard and have stood the test of time.”
In his comments on Isaiah 57, Dr. Harry Ironside shares this true story: “Years ago, before the First World War, Professor Stroeter, a well-known prophetic teacher in Germany, would travel through the country giving lectures, and using charts to explain the dispensations. His meetings attracted the attention of the German Emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm, who despite of his many idiosyncrasies, was quite a Bible student himself, and would deliver sermons in the palace chapel on many occasions. One day the emperor invited Professor Stroeter to his royal mansion so that he could have a personal session to learn more about the information the professor had been teaching. The professor was taken into the library and he began to spread his charts out on the table. The emperor listened closely as he pointed out various prophetic stages that led up to the glorious Second Coming of the Lord.
After a lengthy conversation the emperor said, “Do you mean to say that Jesus Christ is coming back literally, and when He returns all the kingdoms of the world are going to be destroyed and He will set up His kingdom on the ruins of them all?” Professor Stroeter said, “Exactly, your Majesty.” The emperor backed away with a look of disappointment and said, “Oh no, I can’t accept that! This would interfere with all of my plans!” What an honest but troubling admission from a man who professed to be a student and teacher of the Bible. There are indeed many interpretations and opinions about what the future may bring, but Christians can agree there is coming a day when this world will be no more and God will establish His heavenly kingdom forever.
We look around and notice that many people are working hard to build their dreams. I know individuals that are making plans 10, 20, and even 30 years in the future, but are these divine blueprints that God has drawn? Have you known or heard about individuals that had their lives all mapped out, but were suddenly taken out of this world at a young age? It’s worth considering whose voice we are following as the Bible declares there is nothing more important than keeping our spiritual eyes and ears open to where the Lord desires to lead us. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Many of us add Christ to our long list of things we are interested in, but there are only so many hours in our already crowded schedule. Yes, we all have responsibilities, but ignoring God and not being prepared comes with steep consequences. Are we just seeking the God we want without taking the time to know Him? Maybe our busyness is a way of hiding our brokenness. We notice in Luke 5:15-16, Jesus was becoming very popular and multitudes were constantly seeking Him for His wisdom and power to heal. Yet, the more hectic things became, the more time He spent praying and maintaining His relationship with the Father.
How often do Christians stop and consider that when they made a vow to surrender their will to God, their lives were no longer their own? They declared to the world that from now on they will only follow His voice. So, I ask myself; is there anything in this world that would cause me to wish that Christ would wait a while before He returns? Our daughter-in-law recently had twins and of course, I want to know my grandchildren and watch them grow, but what could be better than for us all to go to heaven today? What about you dear friend, are things like enjoying your wealth, building a house, seeing the world, finishing college, getting married, having children, getting that promotion, retiring, or completing some project you’ve been working on for years, more important than the return of Jesus?
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