Most people think about how happy we will be to see Jesus Christ face to face, but have you considered how anxious He is to see you?
It was in the month of December and I was in the countryside, three hours outside Beijing, China. Temperatures were hovering around ten below zero degrees Fahrenheit. I could see my own breath in the cold air of the unheated storage room in the abandoned factory where I both slept and taught the Bible during my time in this poverty stricken community.
Fifteen people sat around me in a circle, having sneaked into the room one at a time in order to avoid detection by the police. “Aren’t you afraid of going to jail?” one of the believers asked me. “Are you?” I asked. It is illegal for Christians in China to meet together as we were doing and we all knew that. However, these believers were so hungry for Bible teaching that they would risk their very lives to attend this Bible study.
An Old Lady Singing to Jesus
I had taught for thirteen hours that day. Now it was the end of the day. We had been praying and the Christians with me had been singing Chinese hymns, offering praise to God for His goodness. There was a lull in the room as people prayed silently when an 87 year old woman began to sing alone.
I had spoken to her earlier through my translator and knew her personal story. She and her husband had been separated during a war in China over thirty years earlier. As Japanese and Chinese soldiers fought all around her, she hid in the corner of a building. Friends around her were being killed, but the soldiers all brushed past her, seeming not to notice she was there.
Finally the shooting stopped and the soldiers all left. She said that her immediate thought was, “There must be a God because there is no other explanation for why I survived what just happened. I want to know this God.” Ten years passed before she heard about an underground church service near where she lived. Taking her daughter by the hand, she said, “Let’s go to this church where we can meet this God who spared my life ten years ago.” They did go to the house church that day and there she met Jesus Christ.
Now here I was, twenty years later, sitting in an abandoned factory where one family had secretly taken up residence. I had been teaching about intimacy with Christ, but this 87 year old lady was about to make the lesson I taught even more real to me. She closed her eyes and began to sing.
It was a soft and sweet sounding song, in the Mandarin language. As she sang, tears began to stream down her wrinkled cheeks and over her radiant smile. I couldn’t understand the words she sang but I was aware that she was literally exuding the love of Jesus Christ. Suddenly, I sensed the manifest presence of God in a powerful way.
I couldn’t hold back my tears and, as I looked around the room, I saw the others were crying too. I looked back at this saint who now appeared to be in a world of her own, seemingly oblivious to our presence in the room. It was obvious – she was not singing for us. She was singing to Jesus.
In a few moments, she finished her song and a holy hush lingered in the room. She paused for a moment and then opened her eyes and looked at me. “Every day He is looking forward to my coming,” she said with wet cheeks and an angelic smile. I felt like a little boy who was being taught a lesson that he had never heard. Looking through teary eyes, I smiled and simply nodded.
Jesus is anxious to meet His bride “He is looking forward to my coming.” Have you ever thought of it in those terms? Most people think about how happy we will be to see Jesus Christ face to face, but have you considered how anxious He is to see you? We are called the bride of Christ in the New Testament. One day He will come again and we will be united with Him in an eternal marriage. Jesus said,
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:2-3).
One day we will hear a resounding invitation echoing through the universe, “The Bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet Him!” (See Matt. 25:6) In that moment, you will see the One whose passion for you was so great that He thought it better to die than to live without you.