“So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand” (Luke 21:31).

When taking nature hikes for science, one homeschooling activity my children especially loved was looking for animal tracks in the soft mud or snow. Identifying creatures from their tracks became a favorite game, and my oldest son especially took to the challenge. With a field guide in hand, not only did he learn to identify the shapes of particular animal prints, but he also learned to read other signs as well. Bruised or broken vegetation, hairs snagged on branches, feathers, opened nuts, and scratches in tree bark all provided additional signs in determining an animal’s trail.

As he grew older, my son became more proficient in his tracking abilities and could easily locate my whereabouts on our family farm. Many times after I had walked to a quiet spot to read a book or be alone, my son would sneak up and scare me in fun. Laughing, I would say, “I don’t ever have to worry about getting lost because I know you’ll be able to find me.”

When Jesus was alive on Earth, He also told His disciples about signs that would mark the time before His return. In Matthew 24, Christ’s list of signs included wars and rumor of wars (vs. 6), famines and earthquakes (vs. 7), false prophets (vs. 11), and an increase in lawlessness (vs.12). Jesus also told His disciples that His return would be as evident as the lightning in the sky (vs. 27), and He would return in the clouds with power and great glory (vs.30). Although no one knows the exact hour or day of Christ’s return (Mark 13:32), the signs will clearly mark the trail before that time.

Have you been watching for the signs of the Lord’s return? Are you earnestly anticipating seeing your loving Savior face to face? Don’t let Christ’s return surprise you and catch you unprepared. Live your life today in such a way that you’re prepared to see Him this very moment! “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:10-12a).

Father, thank You for the joyous promise of Your Son’s return. Open my eyes to see the signs of Your faithfulness and love that guide me each homeschooling day and help me to live in hopeful expectation until I see Jesus. In His name, Amen.