Are we there yet?
August 3, 2015
by Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Apostolic Lutheran Church, Kingston

“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5

How many of us remember the times in our youth when we would ask our parents as we traveled on a long road trip, “Are we there yet? How many more miles?” It was a common question from us when we were in the beginning years of our lives and at which point we had not come to understand that there is a lot of waiting on life’s highway.

Our God has set the longing for eternity with Him into our hearts and has given us a foretaste through the Holy Spirit of that which He has prepared for us on the new heaven and on the new earth. We are as foreigners in this strange land which we are passing through, for we are looking for that city whose builder and maker is God.

The sureness of our successful arrival to our final homeland has been guaranteed through the sealing of the Holy Spirit upon us. But sometimes we forget that which the Lord has won for us, that which He has placed into our hearts and minds, and that which has only been described in earthly terms.

May the following story refresh our hearts and minds as we wait for that glorious day.

A man and his wife had spent over 50 years in the mission field in a foreign country, and had become somewhat crippled as they ended their many years of serving the Lord. As they left the field, and began their journey on the ship to come back to the US to spend their final years in their native land, it just so happened that the president of the US was traveling on the same boat, as he returned home with his entourage from a hunting expedition.

As the ship approached the New York harbor, great crowds could be seen from afar as they excitedly waited to welcome home their president. There was much noise and activity as the ship tied up at the dock, as the president and his supporters walked down the gangplank, into the crowd and into waiting vehicles of transportation. Soon, everyone was off of the ship and and shortly thereafter, the streets were deserted.

At this point, the missionairies began to hobble down the gangplank and as they did, the elderly man voiced his frustration. “There is not one person here to meet us, we who have been doing the Lord’s work for all these years! How fair is it that there is no one to meet us when we come home, but there are thousands that came to meet the president when he comes home?” His wife listened, but said not a word.

That night, after they had settled down in the place that they were staying, again the man began to voice his frustration about the lack of reception at their homecoming. His wife kindly told him that perhaps he should take it up with the Lord, and see what He said about it.

So, the man retired to his prayer closet, and began to pour out his heart to the Lord in a respectful, but yet direct, way about how unfair it was that no one welcomed them home.

Soon, the man became quiet, began to listen to the Lord, and then he began to feel his heart softening as he listened to what the Lord had so say to him. He returned to his wife with a joyful and restful countenance, which to his wife was very surprising. Naturally, she asked him, “Wow, what did the Lord have to say to you?”

The elderly, crippled missionary spoke in a joyful, but humble and quiet voice: He said, “You are not home yet . . .”

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