What if he doesn’t come? (When He Comes 8)

“I’ll be back.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger uttered this famous line many times in his various movies. As the hero of Terminator 2, though, he offered it as a promise to John and Sarah Connor—a promise that though he’s going to be gone for a while, he will return and rescue them from their predicament. Believing the promise, John and Sarah hunker down in a smoke-filled elevator, waiting for the hero to return with the promised salvation.

Isn’t that how it always works with heroes? Somebody’s in danger, the situation is dire, and the hero needs to be gone for a while. But don’t worry, he’ll be right back. And when he comes, everything will be just fine.

That’s reassuring.

But, what if he doesn’t make it back?

Imagine that you’re Sarah Connor and Arnold has just stepped out of the elevator. “Oh, you’ll be back soon? That’s good because those guys with the guns look pretty unhappy. We’ll just hang out here and wait for you to get back.”

Now, suppose that thirty minutes have gone by and he still hasn’t returned. There was a lot of shooting at first, but everything’s been quiet for a while. You’re starting to get a little nervous. What’s taking him so long? If those guys with the guns come back, this could get messy.

Three hours later. Now you’re just angry. Where’s that stupid robot? The elevator is hot, uncomfortable, and John is really starting to get on your nerves.

After just one day, I’m guessing that you’d have lost all hope. He’s not coming back. Now you’re hungry, you smell, you still have angry guys with guns chasing you, and still no hero.

Bad robot.

It’s easy to lose faith when the promised one doesn’t return.

Just one day and your hope is gone. How would you do after several centuries? That’s how long God’s people have been waiting by the time we reach the beginning of the New Testament. Hundreds of years with nothing but promises to hold onto.

When he comes, everything will be fine. When he comes, God’s promises will be fulfilled. When he comes, shalom will be restored. When he comes….

But, what if he doesn’t come?

[Read the rest of the posts in this series on the Gospel Book page.]

About Marc Cortez

Theology Prof and Dean at Western Seminary, husband, father, & blogger, who loves theology, church history, ministry, pop culture, books, and life in general.

Posted on January 29, 2011, in Gospel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Just wanted to say that I love this post!

    I’ve been reading the letters to the Thessalonian church recently. And I was thinking about Jesus’ “delayed” return and wondering what it would have felt like to them.

    I have also noticed that Jesus’ return is mentioned less and less by the early Christian writers as you move away from the 1st century . . .

  1. Pingback: Roundup of posts from the last chapter of my Gospel book « scientia et sapientia

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