Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the peoples of the earth will mourn; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He will send out his angels with a loud trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.Matthew 24:30-31 CSB
As a part of instructing his disciples concerning his return, Jesus talked about a time of tribulation. A time that seemed to start with the destruction of Jerusalem and leading up to his return. There are many ways that people have understood this passage, and similar ones, over the two thousand years since he uttered it. Some see this fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem. Some see it all as relating to a future time. And still, others see it as referencing both past and future events.
But Jesus clearly tells us that this time of tribulation is of a finite duration. And he holds out hope for those who are his.
Jesus is returning to gather his elect. And when he does, the world will mourn. But his chosen ones will be gathered together from wherever we are, whether dead or alive and will be caught up into eternal glory (1 Cor. 15:50-57; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). These words are encouraging, especially to those facing challenging times. This life is temporary (2 Cor. 4:18), and no matter how bad, or good it may seem, it is nothing compared to what awaits us (Rom. 8:18).
As you live here, waiting for our Lord’s return to gather his elect, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).