“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Genesis 29:20).
ATTITUDES LIKE LOVE AND HOPE CAN SHORTEN WHAT OTHERWISE MIGHT SEEM LIKE A LONG TIME. Although time passes at exactly the same rate every day, the passage of time can feel shorter if our hearts are filled with the anticipation of something very good. So for the joy of being married to Rachel, Jacob gladly endured his servitude to Laban for seven years: “. . . they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.”
As we live and wait for the Lord’s return, the passage of time will seem much shorter if we live out our sojourn in hope. It may, in fact, be many days until we see Him, but if our heart is where it needs to be, it will only seem to be a few days. As the familiar old hymn put it, “Just a few more days to be filled with praise, / And to tell the old, old story; / Then, when twilight falls, and my Savior calls, / I shall go to Him in glory” (Charles H. Gabriel).
Jesus promised to come back and take His faithful people to heaven (John 14:1–3; Acts 1:9–11). He did not tell His disciples then, and the Bible does not tell us now, that His return is imminent (1 Thessalonians 5:1,2). But listen: the Bible does teach that we are to live as if Christ’s return were imminent . . . because it very well may be! There is no day, then or now, when the Lord is not “at hand” (Philippians 4:5), and we are taught to live every single day of our lives in the expectation of seeing Him return. It could be today!
Peter wrote that we are to “look for” and “hasten” the coming of the day of the Lord (2 Peter 3:12). That means we are to think of it lovingly and hopefully, just as Jacob would have “hastened” the coming of the day when he could marry Rachel.
But if hope shortens the time of our waiting for the Lord, it also turns it into a time of joy. We are not merely to endure the days of our waiting but to go so far as to enjoy them. It was to a church that had as many hardships as anybody else that Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! . . . The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:4,5). This is the Lord “whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible” (1 Peter 1:8).
“He that lives in hope dances without a fiddle” (Anonymous).