Most importantly, I want to remind you than in the last day’s scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. they will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 2 Peter 3:3-4 NLT
From 2007-2008, I worked in a locked hospital inpatient psychiatric unit on the night shift; it was a tough job staying awake on a busy unit rendering care to patients who were mentally ill and addicted to illicit substances. In addition, we had a 6’6′ supervisor with a bad attitude who detested the arrival of cultural diversity in the unit and was always intent on finding an infraction among the staff so that he could administer disciplinary action. In spite of our challenges, there were two reasons why “Big Tee” never did get the opportunity to fulfill his desire to write up or terminate the night shift staff: We were a dedicated and skilled team who believed that we could make a difference in the lives of a difficult population and secondly, there was a secret among the nursing staff; we had the administrative backing of the Chief Psychiatrist who applauded the 11-7 shift for our compassionate care and maintaining an incident-free record on the unit.
Needless to say that I was not accustomed to this type of undercover harassment from a supervisor and I begin to express to a couple of my nurses–we had become close friends– that I was going to transfer to another department. Instead of agreeing with my decision, they provided strong emotional support and shared some very humorous solutions to effectively dealing with “Big Tee.” I readily accepted their advice and as my perspective changed, I no longer dreaded the individual who disliked us for personal reasons. We developed a plan to greet our supervisor with a smile and conduct positive conversations in spite of the feeling that we were under surveillance. After a week of smiles and happy interactions, Big Tee still maintained a grouchy disposition, but he stopped making hourly rounds on the unit and began to make the standard twice a shift supervisory rounds. We were pleasantly surprised when we invited our supervisor to join us for our monthly night shift potluck dinner and he accepted; during the meal, he shared his background as a Chef in an exclusive restaurant prior to changing careers and becoming a nurse. The ice was broken; Big Tee complimented us for preparing delicious food and also thanked us for our hard work. Following the meal and the laughter that we shared, our supervisor’s attitude changed toward the staff, and after a couple of weeks, we gave him the benefit of the doubt and stopped asking each other, “Can you believe it?”
It was one of those rare nights when all the patients were sleeping soundly; as we begin to chat, one of the nurses who helped to change my perspective of dealing with a difficult supervisor began to share the events of her life; she was raised in a religious-based orphanage where she was physically and emotionally abused by the caregivers. As I listened to the mixed emotions of anger and hurt toward God for letting her childhood be filled with turmoil and abuse, I began to pray silently and ask the Holy Spirit to give me words of encouragement and for God to heal her pain. As I shared God’s perfect plan for humanity and the basis for all of the suffering that we endure, she stopped talking about her traumatic childhood and asked me to explain the future that God has for us if He really loves us the way that you believe. I can remember praying another silent prayer, “Holy Spirit, please help me.”
As I shared the scriptures with her–yes, I always took my Bible to work and read it during our downtime–I began to tell her about the Creation of humanity, the Fall of humanity, God’s plan of Redemption, Love, Faith, Trust, Obedience, the Second Coming of Christ, and the promise of immortality for those who accept Righteousness by Faith to live in a New Heaven and New Earth. It may appear as if I bombarded her with a lot of information; however, I followed her lead by providing answers to question after question regarding who God really was. After three hours of witnessing, I asked if she had any additional questions and I can recall her response as if I just heard it today: “I believe and will accept everything that you have shared with me with one exception, even though I just read it in the Bible, I do not believe that the Second Coming of Jesus is possible.”
Her statement may seem astounding but the expression of true feelings is exactly what God honors–confession; it was not my job to convince her that Jesus is coming again. I was obedient to God and witnessed, sharing the Plan of Salvation and my faith in God. I asked her if she would like a Bible to continue studying, and before we prayed, I asked her to think about this question, “Are you willing to take the chance that the Second Coming of Jesus is not going to happen?” It was not a rhetorical question; however, she chose to give me this answer: “It is just to much pressure to try to maintain the responsibilities of daily life and prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus.”
Many of us who believe in God would challenge the fact that she accepted the plan of Salvation based on her statement that it was too overwhelming to serve God and to live our daily lives. But consider this, does your lifestyle reflect that God is first and foremost to you? Even though we may never verbalize that we are experiencing conflict between what we desire and what God’s will is for our lives, our lifestyle reflects the priorities that we have chosen. When we continue to pursue our goals without asking for God’s Divine Intervention; our behaviors and actions reveal that we are not preparing for Eternal life. If we are wishing for 26 hour days, then we are consumed by the struggle to maintain the daily responsibilities of life. Whether it is intentional or unintentional busyness, because we have excluded God (by praying for His will to be revealed for our lives), it is that very exclusion that prevents us from preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus.
For, as the scripture says, “Just a little while longer, and He who is coming will come; He will not delay. Hebrews 10:37 Good News Translation
Remember that God does not desire that even one of us should perish; God created us and He loves us so much that He has delayed the Second Coming of His Son, Jesus, so that we may have Eternal life. Believe it or not!
Bible Verse: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV
Prayer for today: Dear God, Our lifestyle is full of distractions and priorities that reflect that we are not placing you first in our lives and that we are not preparing for Eternal life. We ask you to forgive us for the sins of omission; we have excluded you from our lives. It is our desire to live forever in the New Heaven and New Earth. We ask you to reveal your perfect plan for our lives as we commit to fully trusting and faithfully obeying your will from this day forward. We thank you for your love, your mercy, and most of all your patience toward us. As we strive for change, we ask for your strength to face the opposition and to always put you first. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus. Amen!
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019