Always Prepared

“We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned to us by the One who sent us.
The night is coming, and then no one can work.”

-John 9:4 (NLT)

BEING CAUGHT UNPREPARED is a most uncomfortable and embarrassing situation and can be quite costly, or even deadly, depending on the nature of that situation.  Yet knowing this, we still often find ourselves unprepared for many of the curve balls life throws at us. 

To be prepared for every potential circumstance is impossible and would be a waste of energy and resources to try.  That type of mindset may be more akin to the worry Jesus warned against in the Sermon on the Mount—unprofitable worry about things beyond our control.  He encourages us to take one day at a time and to focus our energy and hearts on seeking Him, His kingdom, and His righteousness.

Well, we certainly live in a day and age that can reduce one to fear and paranoia through a never-ending barrage of calamities, threats, violence and storms.  It seems we are living perpetually on the brink of financial, physical, political, national, emotional and spiritual ruin.  The Internet is full of cyber-entrepreneurs capitalizing upon those fears.

But the fact that we are not to worry, or fear does not mean we should bury our heads in the sand, oblivious to signs of pending disaster.  If you were to live on the eastern seaboard you would be wise to have a plan of action for coping with a hurricane.  I relate a little more readily to the devastation that is left in the wake of a killer tornado.  That is a far more realistic threat for the area of the country in which I live.  I remember clearly the devastating Xenia, OH tornado of 1974, which was a part of the most violent tornado outbreak ever recorded, with 30 F4/F5 tornadoes confirmed—it came on my birthday (April 3).  It would be foolish to not take cover when the sirens scream to us their warning of impending destruction.  We should seek to be as prepared as possible without living in fear.

We do, indeed, live in uncertain times.  Change in the cultural landscape is relentless and morally devastating.  We are a nation adrift, but we should never lose heart or be caught off guard in difficult times.  Scripture clearly tells us that difficult times are coming for the very purpose that we, God’s people, will be prepared (read Matthew 24).  You may ask, “Prepared for what?”  Prepared to be an ambassador of hope.  Prepared to be a beacon of light.  Prepared to be a bearer of “good news”.  Prepared to heal the wounded.  Prepared with the love of Christ.

So, how do we prepare ourselves to be Gospel agents of hope and life?  While contemplating that very question an amazing thing happened.  We are in Vegas for our grandson, Ledger’s birthday and I am writing this while sitting in the Bad Owl coffee shop.  It took me awhile to recognize it, but then it was unmistakable—the song playing over the house system was the hymn, Draw Me Nearer.  It totally caught me off guard and blessed my socks right off.

I can think of no better way to prepare for the times in which we live and for the unknown yet to come than to personally draw ever nearer to Jesus. There is no other light that will penetrate the darkness of our world.  There is no other hope than that which Jesus gives.  This is the only way to prepare!

Let me encourage you to spend time this week contemplating deeply the timeless words of this hymn by Fanny J. Crosby, publish 144 years ago (1875).  The message of Christ is as changeless as Christ Himself.

I am thine, O Lord, I have heart Thy voice,
And it told Thy love for me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,

To the cross where Thou has died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious bleeding side.

Consecrate me now to Thy service Lord,
By the power of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

O the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!

By the way, I have been working at the Bad Owl for quite some time now.  There has been no other hymn or Christian song played.  What an unexpected inspiration, blessing and reminder God sent my way, helping me refocus on the only thing that truly matters in this life:  Jesus Christ—crucified, RISEN, glorified.  All other things that matter find their meaning in Christ alone.