Have you ever known someone who is always late for everything? I have known several people over the years that were like that. But, one in particular stands out from years ago. And, she was a church member.
The first church I pastored was a new church work near Buckeye, WV, from 1980 to 1984. When Terry and I joined with the church, there were twenty-three members. The Lord blessed with some quick growth, part of which was this lady with some of her family.
This family was musically inclined. She was uniquely talented with the auto-harp. She did not just strum the chords. She picked the music in inspirational fashion. Combined with our guitar players, the one with the bass fiddle, and me on the piano, she complemented our lively music.
She was also a good teacher of music. In due course, she developed a sizeable children’s choir in the church. It was eventually decided that she would lead the children to sing special music to start our worship services.
The only problem was that she was always very late, which was her MO for everywhere she went and for everything she did. She lived only about a mile from the church, so distance was not a problem on that account. Neither was she a person that over-slept. She would even confess that she was not sure what her problem was.
I hate to say that her tardiness was a nuisance, but it was as it concerned the start of our services. But, I kept my mouth shut. I would just walk over to one of the windows and look out for her approach toward the church – and pray that the Lord would give me a gracious heart.
One of her brothers attended the church, too. He was a great guy. It was so funny one Sunday when I stood by the window looking out for her to arrive. He came to the window and stood by me. Little did I know of his inner angst for her extreme tendency for being late for church and everything else. He said nothing. I said nothing.
Finally, he said, “She is not going to make on time this morning, either, is she?” I did not respond for a moment. But, then the both of us broke out in loud laughter to the point that others in the church wondered what was so funny. While we stood there laughing, we saw her hastening up the road to the church.
One day recently while in my church study, I stood at the window thinking about the return of Jesus Christ. I thought how I prayerfully wished that He would come very soon, because when He does come, the people of the Church will be much better off.
But, in my human capacity, I thought about the chaotic conditions of our country and the world, and wondered why the Lord seemed so late about things. The conditions of things seem to be ripe for the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming.
In the process, I got to remembering about the lady. But, one thing I remembered the brother and I concluding as we laughed by the window – though it might seem as though she was late, we were assured that she would most surely come. She was faithful in her commitment.
By contrast, so is the Lord being faithful in His commitment to return. Apostle Peter points out to us about it, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise…”
And, when the Lord spoke about His return as recorded in the Gospels, He never gave a certain time when He would return. He certainly told us about conditions of the times to look out for, but never did He say when He would come again during the course of a certain year. The Lord is the smartest man I know. He wants us to expect when He will come again, and be like Apostle John, who prayed with the next-to-last verse of Revelation, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
He is not being late. But, He will be exactly on time when He does come.
Obviously, with the lady, we had to adjust the time of her role in the service. Things worked out just fine and agreeably.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.