Eternal Anticipation

Eternal Anticipation

The coming of our King

Written by: Natalie Yeo (Photos by: Jonathan Soon)

In the wee hours of 30 June 2018, I sat in my room all alone and it dawned upon me: I’m getting married. All the months of anticipation and preparation have finally come to this.

I was about to be a bride to my bridegroom, and my heart was filled with great anticipation. It was set aflutter when I imagined what my bridegroom’s reaction would be when he saw me in the pristine white gown he had yet to see; I thought about the many faces of our guests whom I had not seen for some time and started to crave for the desserts that we had specially customised and ordered.

As my emotions ran riot, my heart recalled what Paul wrote to the Ephesians: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her. That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:22–23 NKJV). More than spending a lifetime with my beloved, I had to grapple with the significance and weightiness of marriage.

I’ve been married for two months now, and looking back on those days of heightened emotions, I’ve come to better grasp that our earthly anticipation is a reflection of the divine, eternal glory that is to come when Jesus returns for His spotless bride — the church. Our human anticipation ends in divine, eternal glory!

As a body of believers, we are the bride of Christ. Are we waiting in anticipation for our Bridegroom? Are we being prepared for this beautiful wedding that is to come?

Laura Hackett Park’s song “Even So Come” details this beautifully:

“Like a bride waiting for her groom,
We’ll be a church ready for You
Every heart, longing for our King, we sing
Even so come, Lord Jesus come

So we wait, we wait for You
God, we wait, You’re coming soon!”

On hindsight, the preparation process for the wedding taught me that heightened anticipation involves active preparation. For nine months after our engagement, my fiancé and I were caught in a whirlwind of intense preparation for the wedding: from finding venues to caterers, from the décor to the florals, from bridal gowns to wedding albums.

When anticipation is at its peak, the details become clear and important. You become mindful of the minute things because you desire for this specific thing to be done well, ensuring that you have everything you require.

This starkly reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins in the gospel of Matthew. The wise virgins were prepared with oil in jars while the foolish virgins did not take oil with them while awaiting the bridegroom. The lamps of the foolish virgins went out while the wise virgins who came ready “went in with him to the wedding banquet (v10).” (See Matthew 25:1-13, NKJV.)

Will we, as the bride, willingly prepare ourselves — paying attention to the details, trusting the word of God, allowing the word of God to wash us daily — for our Bridegroom? The Bible exhorts us to participate in active preparation:

Live righteously

Living righteously might seem like a rather abstract concept to some, but being “righteous,” is acting in accord with divine or moral law, living free from guilt and sin. In more practical terms, it means living in right relationship and right standing with God and people. Knowing God and all that He stands for will inevitably influence the way we treat our family, friends, and community.

When it comes to living rightly, the Bible tells us, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do…” and “above all, love each other deeply… offer hospitality…use whatever gift you have received to serve others” (1 Peter 1:14-16, 4:8–11 NIV).

As we read and obey the word of God, these values do not automatically seep into the fibre of our beings and cause us to live well. Living righteouly is not learnt behaviour, but an inward transformation of our heart’s posture through intimacy with Christ. It is in drawing close to Him — allowing Him to correct and rebuke us (where necessary) and depending on His grace, mercy, and empowerment — that we will be made ready for Jesus’ return.

Watch and Pray

Watching implies having a certain level of readiness for what is to come. Jesus’ diciples faced such a situation when they were at the garden of Gethesemane, where Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).”

As we watch and pray, we take on a spiritual stance of standing guard in preparation to receive Jesus. Luke 12:35-40 (NIV) expounds on the concept of watchfulness, drawing familiar parallels to “(keeping) your lamps burning,” and highlighting that “it will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes (Luke 12:37).”

1 Thessalonians 5:5-6 (NKJV) further encourages us that we “are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” Luke 21:36 (NIV) also exhorts us to “be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Practically speaking, this urges for us to be spiritually alert and connected to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis — to hear His heart, commands, or instructions. Prayer is one of the key disciplines which aligns and connects us to God. Personally, prayer has enriched my awareness of what God wants to do at a specific moment. I have grown more confident in obeying His promptings because I have witnessed the Holy Spirit staying true to His word!

My prayer for the Singapore church is that we will know that the Father is looking for faithful stewards and intercessors who will watch and pray.

The day will come when “He will swallow up death forever. And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken. And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’” (Isaiah 25:8–9 NKJV)

Dear brothers and sisters in the faith, may our earthly anticipation ever point us to a divine anticipation for Jesus to return as Bridegroom King. Let us remain faithful in the place of prayer, loyal and consistent in our communion with the Lord, and get readied for His return!

NATALIE is an introvert, yet loves investing intentional time on people. Her favourite colour is red, yet her wardrobe is filled with hues of blue. She is an open well when it comes to meeting and embracing girls with histories that can be transformed to become His stories. Share in her journey @intangibility.


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