We were going to pack our bag that week, three weeks early, “just in case.” But at 7:30 pm, August 10, 2009, Nathan called to tell us we needed to have it packed “Now!” Our grandson had decided to make his arrival nearly four weeks early. So we threw things into a bag and ran out the door, dishes sitting unwashed in the sink, bills left unpaid, the baby gift still “in transit,” though I had ordered it in plenty of time for a delivery I expected to be four weeks away. I even had to grab dirty clothes out of the hamper to wash when I got there so I would have enough to wear the week I stayed. So much for thinking we were prepared. Silas Andrew Ward, who made his debut early on August 11, showed us we were not.
We all prepare for things every day. That’s why we plan meals and make grocery lists, shop the back-to-school sales, and have retirement plans. So why do we so often fail to prepare the most important things, our souls?
I find myself wondering if, despite our protestations otherwise, we don’t truly believe. When we are young, we don’t really believe we will die, at least not any time soon. There is plenty of time to prepare. The death of a young friend may shake us for awhile, but how long does that last? Let me tell you, when you finally get to that age you never imagined yourself being, you will understand exactly how short your life is and how blessed you are to still have a chance to prepare. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, Heb 9:27.
Maybe we don’t really believe in the reward. I think that may be a bigger problem than not believing in the punishment. We think the biggest pleasures we will ever have are here and now, and that is solely because we only have the here and now to judge by and Satan banks on that, reinforcing the notion every chance he gets with our culture, the media, and the people around us. If we really believed that the reward is far better than anything we could possibly enjoy here, we would try even harder to prepare ourselves for it. And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing to Him; for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek after Him, Heb 11:6.
The thing about preparation is you never know when you will need it. You wear the seat belt just in case. If you knew you were going to be in an accident, wouldn’t you go another way, or simply stay put? Likewise, we never know when God will call us home. You cannot make a reservation for a specific date, then confirm it with a call 24 hours ahead. You simply prepare for something you know will happen some time in the future, and never underestimate how soon that may be. Isn’t it foolish not to be ready?
Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is. It is as when a man, sojourning in another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to watch. Watch therefore: for you know not when the lord of the house comes, whether at even, or at midnight, or at cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch. Mark 13:33-37.
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