Throughout The New Testament the return of Christ and the consequent readiness of his followers jump off the page. It's been over 2000 years since his ascension into heaven. We have become slothful, no doubt! When Christianity becomes the dominant cultural force that shapes most of Europe throughout The Middle Ages, it is not too far of a stretch to say that The Church basically goes to sleep. Many adult Christians today who have children in their 30s and 40s likely remember a time, when most people they grew up with went to church. It's a comforting memory–that's about it!
Those days are long gone. In his book From Dawn to Decadence, Jacques Barzun argues that every "empire" or "dominant culture" reaches a summit that is not sustained. People reach the summit and start to enjoy it too much, setting aside the will and motivation that helped the empire or culture reach its summit in the first place.
This phenomenon clearly has played itself out within Christendom. Christianity became a club of "fat and happys," thinking the church would simply self-sustain. The result is that Western Christendom has succumbed to similar cultural forces that have impacted other empires throughout history.
Jesus knows us too well. He knows that sinful human creatures cannot sustain by themselves the resiliency to wait for the Lord. We think he is taking too long, so we soothe ourselves with other gods–gods of comfort that appear to assuage the deadly problem of sin. We only hasten our demise with this approach.
One of the best anticipation metaphors from sports in this regard is that of a nose guard over a center in football. The nose guard knows the play will happen–eventually–but cannot jump offsides. He cannot let the quarterback's cadence fool him. He has to remain totally locked-in on watching the ball, just inches from his face. The intense focus on the ball becomes the key to anticipate the snap on the ball. Even though the center knows the snap-count, perfect anticipation by the nose guard can give him a significant advantage over the center.
Let us have intense focus not on a football inches before us but on the coming of Jesus–His Second Advent. When Jesus comes again to make all things new, all of creation will be remade perfectly. With such focus, the craziness of the world around us becomes like the background noise of a roaring crowd–undecipherable and, ultimately, meaningless.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.