Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Call me a pessimist if you want, but if this world has taught me anything it's this, calamity could be around any corner. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, either way, brace yourself. I simply call that being a realist.

How does this translate to our faith though?

A common saying that escapes my lips often is, "Hope for the best, plan for the worst." That's pretty much how I operate. Don't get me wrong, I've got tons of hope, it's all around me: when I hear children screaming in church, in an unexpected hug, random acts of kindness, or hearing the poor person on the street singing about Jesus.

I was in downtown Fresno, CA yesterday. We went to the Fulton Mall. It's an outside shopping center outside of one of the San Francisco Giant's minor league team's stadium. The city had hopes that the stadium's presence would revitalize the area but that hasn't happened. When we were there, the poor and the homeless were the presence that we experienced.

One of them was playing a saxophone, very talented. Another was singing along with him, singing about Jesus and his imminent return. The lyrics were simple:

Jesus' is gonna come back soon
Jesus' is gonna come back soon
Jesus' is comin'

I hope Jesus does come back soon. I really do. Lord knows we need him. But when?

We've been waiting for two...thousand...years.

There are some theologians that argue that Jesus' return is metaphorical, not literal.  I don't know if I would go that far but, think about that for a moment. 

What if we are the return of Jesus?

Could it be both? Can we, simultaneously, hope and wait for Jesus' literal return AND be the current return and presence of Jesus in the world? In other words, can we hope for the best (Jesus' quick return), and plan for the worst (another 2000 year wait)?

What I do know is this, the world needs Jesus now. The scholars and theologians can debate the when, where, if, and why's of Jesus literal return 'til it actually happens. In the meantime, the rest of us can be Jesus to those whom God puts in our paths, like the poor who sing of Jesus' return in cities across the world, and say to them, "We're here. How can we help?" (Matthew 20:32)