by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
Many of us, I'm sure, remember the words, "Coming soon to a theater/store/restaurant (fill in the blank) near you . . ." The reason was to catch and hold your attention! Well, sometimes that indeed happened, as a lot of us want to find something new or maybe the "latest and greatest thing" to come our way.
Now, people use the phrase "coming soon" in a number of ways. First, these words could be used in a sense or way of stalling or delaying something. Someone might say, "It's coming soon!" regarding a newsletter, a report, an evaluation or any number of things. Perhaps the words are used in an attempt "we need more time". It could be a way of saying "no" without hurting your feelings. Maybe it's just a dodge, or a way to simply not give an answer at all. None of these are really acceptable, but I don't see that aspect going away anytime in the near future (whoops, almost said "soon"!)
Sometimes, the phrase really does mean an event is just moments away from beginning! Chances are, we've all heard any number of speakers at a parade, for example, telling us, "Here comes the Governor (or the mayor, or the star of the parade)" when it's time for the star to take a particular leg of the journey. This is legitimate, in that it speaks the truth and to the 'not very long'-ness of the event. Yeah, I almost said "soon" again!
There is still another way to understand this phrase. A pastor friend told me of a church that has for lack of a better term closed, and the building was sold back to the local association. He wasn't told any of the plans for the future, the timeline of closing/re-opening or whatever the "powers that be" have in store. But, as he related, the church sign was boarded over and the words "Coming Soon!" were painted on those boards. For those of us affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, that does happen: a church will close or cease to function, but can be "re-born" or somehow become part of something else. I hope the church can be resurrected to share the Good News of Jesus with many people. Where this church was located, the Good News is needed desperately.
And yet, there's another meaning. Several preachers, myself included, have been declaring "Jesus is coming soon!" Even though this doctrine has been preached for many years, and although the Lord hasn't returned yet, we still believe it's going to happen. He promised to do this, and He's always kept every promise He has made. Christ may not return today or tomorrow, but He IS coming.
And as for "soon"? I don't read of anything to keep Him from returning before I finish this sentence! Keep the faith, my friends: good things are coming, and they're coming soon!