Hymn text by Henry U. Onderdonk, 1789-1858. View the full text of this hymn.

I used to be pants-wetting afraid of Christ’s Second Coming.

I’m sure this wasn’t the intention of my parents or Sunday School teachers to drill this fear into me, but yet I was afraid. The scriptures are littered with references to the sun going out, the moon turning the blood; famine and pestilence and earthquakes, and people generally killing each other. I remember being about seven years old and seeing a red moon for the first time. My guts turned to ice because I thought for sure it was the End of Days.

These days I am not afraid of Christ’s coming, first and most importantly because I believe in His gift of resurrection and that I will see my beloved dead again. Secondly, I don’t fear Christ’s coming because He has instructed us for thousands of years now to prepare to meet Him with faith, consistency, and humility.

How wondrous and great Thy works, God of praise!
How just, King of Saints, And true are thy ways!
Oh, who shall not fear thee and honor thy name?
Thou only art holy, Thou only supreme.

 

Sometimes we run around wildly pulling repentance and faith off the shelves as if we’re preparing for a freak winter storm. This is not what the Lord expects of us. At the heart of Jesus’ parable of the Ten Virgins was the instruction to listen, obey, and be ready.

Nearly 100 years before Jesus preached this sermon, Book of Mormon prophet Alma entreated his people to “not procrastinate the day of your repentance” until Christ’s Second Coming. Alma pleaded with them to have faith and a hope for eternal life, to be humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love, long-suffering, and to pray for strength to withstand temptation (Alma 13: 27-29).

I guess this is all the gospel is about, really. Slow, steady preparation and refining through the Spirit to get us to a place where we can handle being with God again.

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