I've been a Seventh-day Adventist since birth--and I've been a baptized member for nine of my 22 years. For all those years I've heard my pastors, teachers, and parents say "Jesus is coming again!" or "Jesus is coming soon!"
I've sung all the songs, watched the lectures, taken the classes, and visited all the Adventist Historical sites. I am the perfect, stereotypical Adventist. The date October 22 has always had an ominous ring to it, though nothing bad has ever happened to me on it.
Then today in my Old Testament Studies class, I was given a new way to look at this date. October 22nd wasn't the Great Disappointment, as all of us in the church call it. It was the Great Anticipation. Our ancestors believed that Jesus was going to come back to earth, to take them out of this sin sick world.
October 23rd was the day of disappointment. When the clock stuck midnight on that cold morning the hopes of many were crushed. Hiram Edson said, "We wept and wept until the day dawn." Many of these early Adventists left the movement. They had been disappointed several times earlier, and this was the final straw.
But the reason I know that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is on a mission sent from God is this: we still exist. We shouldn't. Everyone should have given up after October 22, 1844, but they didn't. In December of 1844 William Miller wrote in the Midnight Cry, "I have set my mind on another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light. And that [the time God gives me more light] is today, Today, and TODAY until He comes."
In the days surrounding the Disappointment God's truth was given to many, and shared with all who would listen. They had the right day, but the wrong event. Jesus wasn't supposed to come to earth that day, but instead was to enter the Most Holy Place in Heaven to act as our Lawyer.
F. E. Beldon's song says it best:
We know not the hour of the Master's appearing;
But signs all foretell that the moment is nearing
When He shall return--'tis the promise most cheering--
But we know not the hour.
He will come, [He will come]
Let us watch and be ready
He will come, [He will come]d
He will come in the clouds of His Father's bright glory
But we know not the hour.
We don't know when Christ will return, but that doesn't matter. We know THAT He will come, and that's all that matters.
Father, we know that Your Son has promised to come back to this earth to take us to Heaven to live with You there. May that coming be soon, but more importantly, may we be ready for His coming. This is my prayer for all those who read this. I pray this in the name of Jesus--He who came to earth, died as a the substitution for our death penalty, rose again on the third day, and is now in Heaven as our advocate. Amen.
Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 (for Tuesday, July 15, 2014)
Time: 7:12 pm local, EST
There really are very few words more beautiful in the English language than home--unless one includes such words as Big Franks and drinking fountains.
My alarm was set to ring at 4:45 am Tuesday morning, but I had already woken up by the time it rang. It wasn't because I was excited, but because it was so hot. I finally just gave up. I took a shower, got dressed, and finished my packing. Then, with much delight, I threw the remainder of my loaf of bread out the window and into the lake (I think it was a lake). One duck ate quite consitently and a swarm of seagulls divebombed the rest of the bread.
We left the hotel by 5:55, I carried my overstuffed backpack and pulled my small, light suitcase behind me. In front of me I pushed Kaiti's very large, heavy suitcase which I had volunteered to bring home so that they didn't need to lug it around Spain for the next week. It was about a ten minute walk from our hotel to the train station. We got on the train and had a (basically) private car for the hour-and-a-half ride to the airport. During that time Joel and I (but mostly Joel) wrote the Twelve Days of Christmas, a la Wholer's Europe Tour:
On the twelfth day of Europe, Wholers gave to me:
Twelve art museums
Eleven pricey meals
Ten small hotel rooms
Time in nine countries
Eight hours of train rides
Seven lectures, too
Five chocolate treats!
Four times getting lost
Three loud Argentines
Two hot night on a train
And a Eurorail pass that Chris lost.
Please note that none of these numbers are accurate (except the last three).
We got off the train which stopped in the airport. We went up a couple of excalators and made it to the Delta check-in window. I was very nervous that they would ask questions about Kaiti's suitcase--or even worse charge me for its weight. But they didn't. It was ever so slightly overweight, but they were nice and didn't charge.
I easily made it through security, and was the first one to our gate. I found a small waiting area and got comfortable so that I could read for the hour before the plane started loading. After I had been reading for half-an-hour an announcement came over the loudspeaker asking for volunteers to sit in the emergency exit row. When I had originally checked in I had asked for an aisle seat, but they said the only one was in the emergency exit row, which would cost an additional E80. But I got to the counter fast enough to get the same seat for free!
I got to sit next to Allison Brown, who became a pretty good friend of mine, but it didn't help the trip! It was so incredibly long! It lasted about 9 hours, but it felt like twice that. I watched a lot of movies, but got horribly sick of it!
We were scheduled to land in Atlanta at 2:51, but we managed to get there at 2:37 instead, which was nice. I was the first of our group to get off the plane, followed quickly by Allison. We were also the first through customs and to the baggage check area. I was waylayed slightly because I had brought back bulbs and chocolate, but I had no real problems. I truthfully answered the questions they asked me, but I didn't volunteer any information (unlike Chris who volunteered way too much information). After collecting Kaiti's bag, I left the baggage claim area and found Dad who was waiting in the long receiving line.
We left the airport, and began driving home, missing bad traffic. We stopped at the Taco Bell about an hour out of Atlanta, then sped home so that I could eat Big Franks. Then it was time for Doc with the family, then bed: blessed bed.
This afternoon (Wednesday) I had some free time, so I decided to attempt some math. My (very broad) estimate for mileage, from my door and back, including airfare, was 12,862 miles, approximately 140 of which were on foot. I visited 9 countries (10 if you count Vatican City as its own country) and spent 28 days with 25 new friends. I completely ignored the world cup, but felt like part of it anyway, since all the Europeans were watching their teams win or lose. I studied thousands of years worth of history, culture, art, and rulers. I now know a little bit more about politics, and feel a little less like I know it all. That's the beauty of international travel.
This is the last blog installment for my Europe 2014 study tour. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your prayers and support. It has been greatly appreciated. I would also like to publically thank Bill Wohlers, though he will probably never read it. In my opinion, Dr. Wohlers, you went above and beyond what was expected of you. I enjoyed most of the tour, and I learned so much. You showed a compassion for and interest in all your students, and I appreciate all the hard work you put in to making this trip amazing.
Love to all!
I'm a Classical musician, a growing Christian, and a world traveler. I'm learning, exploring, and trying to understand this wonderful world I live in.