Look Forward to His Coming with Faith and Hope

Look Forward to His Coming with Faith and Hope February 1, 2022

The topic of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming has fascinated my mind and guided my scripture study since my childhood family’s Sunday ask-whatever-questions-you-have gospel discussions.  I really enjoyed these thoughts by Jessie Brown as she shared some simple and always timely ways to “prepare and look forward to His coming with faith and hope.”

From Jessie Brown ~ Look Forward to His coming with Faith and Hope

A month before Christmas, my daughter Ellie asked me if Jesus would come again before Christmas. I told her that I wasn’t sure exactly when He would come again, but that we’ve been promised that He would come back “soon.” She responded that she hopes He doesn’t come yet because she really wants to open her presents at Christmas.
Christ’s followers have been asking this same question ever since He taught that “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” and that we should “be ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
While we don’t know exactly when He will return, we have been taught by the prophets in scripture that some of the signs of His coming include: wars, rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, earthquakes, famine and pestilence, a desolating sickness covering the whole earth in commotion, and men’s hearts failing them. That’s a pretty scary-sounding list. I don’t remember very many specific Sunday lessons from my childhood but I do remember being about 9 or 10 and hoping with all of my heart that I wouldn’t be around to see Christ’s second coming. The Armageddon ticking time bomb was not something that I wanted to see or be a part of.
But in my readings this week about the Second Coming of Christ, I found only enthusiasm and joy from the apostles about their excitement for Him to come. How can this be?
The scriptures teach us that “if we are prepared, we shall not fear.” That’s the answer to finding joy when thinking about His coming and the impending calamities rather than fear.
Artistic depiction of Jesus Christ's Second Coming
“Second Coming” Anonymous, Greece, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
So, how do we prepare for His Coming? Bishop Gérald Caussé, in his 2016 Liahona article “Preparing a Place for the Lord,” gives us 4 examples of ways we can prepare spiritually for that day.

1. Go to the Temple

Bishop Gérald Caussé says, “one of the best ways we, as His disciples, can prepare for His Second Coming is to go regularly to His holy house and bind ourselves to Him through sacred covenants.”
Our Stake and ward leaders have also asked us to regularly attend the temple. With the blessing of having it so close and now that it is open and accessible, we can all benefit from the strength that comes into our lives by either making new covenants with the Lord, or by helping others who have passed on to make covenants with Him.
A covenant is a binding spiritual contract, a solemn promise to God our Father that we will live and think and act in a certain way – the way of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In return, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost promise us the full splendor of eternal life. ~Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
If you’ve been baptized, you’ve already made covenants with Heavenly Father. If you have been endowed, you have made additional covenants. Each covenant we make with Heavenly Father has specific blessings attached. If we want to receive those blessings, we need to keep those covenants and try to make changes in our lives to live worthy of them. Through making and daily trying to keep our covenants, we will be more prepared to meet our Savior when He does come again.

2. Prepare your home

Bishop Caussé says that we should make our homes places where the Lord would want to stay. He says,
in the scriptures, we read numerous accounts of kindly people who welcomed and hosted the Savior in their homes. So let us ask ourselves these questions: Is my home acceptable to the Lord? Is it a safe, peaceful, and Spirit-filled place where He would feel comfortable?
As a stay-at-home mom who spends a lot of time at home, I can promise you that a Spirit-filled home can look a lot of different ways. Sometimes the house is clean and organized and we have well-prepared family home evenings to invite the Spirit. Sometimes it comes from spiritual discussions while playing with Play-Doh. Other times the Spirit fills my home when my kids ask questions about Christ and I am able to testify of His love for them or when the kids fall asleep listening to Primary music. There are so many things we can do to invite the Spirit into our homes.
On the flip-side, it is so easy to make our homes un-inviting to the Spirit and a place where Christ would not be comfortable. The pamphlet “For the Strength of Youth” gives us some guidelines on entertainment and media, language, music and dancing, and Sabbath day observance that can help guide us in making our homes a heaven on earth. When we choose to make changes in our homes that make them inviting places for the Spirit, we are preparing ourselves and our families for His Second Coming.

3. Gather the Elect

Bishop Caussé says, “we can help gather His elect from all over the world – even if that means leaving our homes for a time to help build His earthly kingdom. The history of the people of God is a history of Saints who were always ready and willing to go where the Lord wanted them to go.”
If you are preparing to go on a mission to help gather the elect, that is awesome! I highly recommend it. We are blessed to have great missionaries in the Lubbock area and we thank them for their service.
For the rest of us, gathering the elect might look a little different than putting on a name badge and teaching strangers. It might be enjoying discussions with a neighbor. It might be inviting a coworker to meet with the missionaries or join in on a family home evening. It could be doing family history at home and taking names to the temple to help our ancestors make covenants. It might be telling a neighbor about what you learned in church on Sunday and inviting them to learn more. President Nelson has taught us that “anytime we do anything that helps anyone – on either side of the veil – to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping to gather Israel.” When we help gather the elect, we are preparing ourselves spiritually for the Savior’s Second Coming.

4. Help those in Need

Bishop Caussé says,
We can contribute to the Church’s humanitarian fund. We can work with others in our communities who provide loving service to those in need. We can extend our friendship to those who have been displaced when they come into our communities. We can genuinely welcome the strangers who visit our wards and branches.
There are so many people with so many needs right here in our community as well as around the world. If you are looking for someone who needs help, you probably don’t have to look farther than those you have been assigned to minister to. Helping those in need is exactly what Christ did during His earthly ministry and is a way that we can not only come closer to our Savior, but also prepare for His coming.
If we knew that Christ were to come tomorrow, what changes would we make in our lives? In our homes? It would be so easy to prepare ourselves to be righteous and spiritually minded for one day of our lives. But that isn’t how preparation goes in this case. Christ is not a visitor with a set schedule of when He will arrive so we can hurriedly clean our homes and our lives to be ready to meet Him.
In Matthew 25, we read the parable of the 10 virgins – a story about why we need to prepare now rather than putting off our preparation for the Savior’s Second Coming. When the Bridegroom comes in this story, the 5 wise virgins are able to follow in the procession towards the marriage while the 5 foolish virgins are left running to buy oil for their lamps, only to find the door has already been shut and they are unable to enter into the marriage. They plead crying, “Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
How those 5 foolish virgins must have wished that they had prepared earlier, that they had taken the time to buy oil and prepare beforehand. Then they too would have been ready for the marriage.
As members of Christ’s church, we represent these 10 virgins that have all been invited to the Bridegroom’s wedding. The 10 virgins do not represent 5 followers of Christ and 5 wicked people. All of the virgins – prepared and unprepared – are symbols of His followers. So just because we have joined His church and promised to follow Him, we know from this parable that that is not enough.

Look Forward to His coming with faith and hope

Elder Dallin H. Oaks said,
What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow – through premature death or through His unexpected coming – what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
Since no man knows the time of His coming, we have to prepare daily as if He were to come tomorrow. However, I don’t think we need to be fretting and running around crying doomsday every day of our lives. Our preparations should not be fanatical or outrageous, but small simple acts of daily choosing to become more like our Savior, being a little more careful about following Him rather than the other voices around us.
We don’t need to fear, we just need to prepare.
Doctrine and Covenants 45:35 reminds us to “Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall all be fulfilled.
Elder M. Russell Ballard reminded us in a 2012 commencement address that
as we think about the future, we should be filled with faith and hope. Always remember that Jesus Christ – the Creator of the universe, the architect of our salvation, and the head of this Church – is in control.
I’d like to end with some questions that you can ponder and act on: What are you inspired to do to better prepare for His coming? How will you help those around you to prepare? I hope that we can all prepare and look forward to His coming with faith and hope.
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