Could You Come Back at a Better Time, Lord?

By Brian Daley, freelance writer


My 7th-grade teacher, Mrs. Rempe, stressed before English class one day that she'd call on me for my oral book report sometime during the hour, so I was to remain ready. Well, class came. Mrs. Rempe talked and talked. The clock ticked, I think. I sat with my note cards, leg bouncing, attention dwindling. One minute I felt the next words she spoke would be, "Come up here," while the following minute my thoughts involved Super Mario Brothers.

Then Keith, our class clown, started goofing around and trying to make me laugh. (And you know how it is in hush-hush situations; everything somehow becomes funnier.) It only took one look, like that weird, twisted-lip expression from him. This kid's impersonations were legendary at St. Joe's grade school, especially of Bill the raspy-voiced bus driver, but that's another story.

Anyway, as I muffled my laughter, joked back, and down played my inevitable report, guess who interrupted our wackiness with the narrowing of an eye? (No, not Lisa the eventual valedictorian who sat ahead of me.) Mrs. Rempe, of course, in front of 15 smirking classmates. Right while I was making the zaniest, googly eyed, tongue-out face at Keith I could muster up!

Similarly, this concept of being caught off guard will likely strike scores of Christians the minute Jesus returns. "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will." (Mathew 24:44, NASB) Have you ever wondered exactly what you'll be doing and where you'll be? I've always imagined the best-possible situations to experience the Second Coming, like at church, in prayer, or during a good deed. But I can just see the Master of the universe appearing smack-dab in the middle of one of my silly or embarrassing or, worse yet, private moments. (Please, Lord, not while I'm home alone singing out loud and dancing to Aretha Franklin music!)

Let's face it: there are 1,440 minutes in a day, so naturally, not all of them can fall into the "optimal" category. Enter the top seven oh-why-now situations to be in when Jesus returns!

7) First thing in the morning. You know how it is yawning, half-awake, maybe a touch groggy. You're sporting "bed head," the prelude to your worst bad-hair day ever. And your breath would offend a prehistoric velociraptor. Don't forget morning voice and that mysterious crusty stuff at the corners of your eyes.

6) All-U-Can-Eat barbeque rib night. Picture the piles of bones as sticky as your fingers, a chunk or two of pork wedged between your front teeth, your face smothered in barbeque sauce, no wet wipes around yet. Talk about being caught red-handed!

5) Telling a joke. Precisely at the part where there's one four-letter word that you normally don't say but the joke won't be as funny without it and, oh well, just this once won't hurt. 4) One of those days. Everyone and everything seem out to get you. The boss hollers at you, but a coworker caused the issue. Then elbow meets coffee and it paints your desk and shirt black. You're about to lose it. On the drive home, the highway looks like a parking lot. Construction? Accident? Nope, someone's merely pulled over. Traffic finally dissipates, but blinkerless Joe Hot Rod decides to cut you off, forcing a test of more than your brakes. Seat belt stiffens, soda spills, temper flairs, questionably Christian thoughts abound, yells erupt.

3) After a workout. You look like you've fallen into a swimming pool fully clothed. Fellow exercisers step out of your way. Soap and shampoo shriek at their approaching fates. It's safe to say you qualify as part of the target audience for those old "Sure-Unsure" commercials for Sure deodorant.

2) A party. You enjoy lots of laughs, cola, and baked beans. A half-hour or so later, your stomach signals its disapproval of your snack intake. What a gas!

1) The bathroom. (We'll stop there.)

Think about this. Each day, with each tick of the clock, you and I inch closer to that climactic moment of standing eye-to-eye with Jesus Christ. (Boy, I feel nervous standing eye-to-eye with my pastor; I can only imagine my nervousness with the Master!) Will He find you in a Mrs. Rempe-ignoring moment or in a ready-as-ever moment? Let's hope the latter.