In an earlier blog we discussed Godly Waiting. We are told in numerous places in the Bible to wait. (https://wonderfullyplagued.com/2020/10/19/godly-waiting/} A related concept is preparation. We may anticipate an event, completion of a task, taking a vacation, or any one of a host of activities. If we want to fully experience the event we must prepare.
Note that the event may not necessarily be something that we want to do or will enjoy. If someone is having surgery, there are a host of preparatory activities that must be undertaken – get blood work done, Take certain medications prior to the surgery, prepare the house for when you get home from the surgery, don’t eat or drink after midnight the day before the surgery. The list goes on and on. We do it not because it is pleasant but because we must.
To have an enjoyable vacation requires preparation. Even the most “unplanned” vacation involves some level of preparation. The last vacation Gloria and I took involved flying to Portland, Oregon, renting a car, and going wherever we decided on the spur of the moment. Yes, we had some things in mind that we wanted to see and do but we were not really on a schedule except that we had to be back in Portland to catch our return flight. We had to prepare by making reservations, by obtaining a hotel for the first night upon our arrival. Each night we would scope out what to do the next day and make sure we had a hotel reservation for tomorrow. Going in, we said this would either be a great vacation or a colossal disaster. Gloria said it was the best vacation we ever took. So I guess the takeaway here is prepare, but don’t be obsessive about it.
All my life I’ve been told that anything you do is worth doing well. Preparation helps us do it well. And this is also true of our Christianity. Isaiah 40:31 is probably the most quoted scripture that refers to waiting “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Until recently, it never occurred to me why we need to renew our strength, not be weary, and not faint. We may get tired of waiting, doing nothing, but that doesn’t require much physical exertion. This scripture, I believe tells us that our Christian walk, our waiting on God are not easy tasks. If we are waiting we should be busily preparing for what God has led us to do.
We are specifically told to prepare. Mark 1:3 reads “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” I think here John the Baptist is fulfilling his own vision, but indicating to us that we must also prepare the way of the Lord. There is no one right way to prepare. Our preparation must be such that it enables us to be more effective in the fulfillment of the vision God has given us. This applies to each of us as individuals but also to each local church.
Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins in Matthew emphasizes to us the importance of not procrastinating in our vision. When God gives us a vision, we should usually begin preparation immediately. In the parable the five virgins who were not prepared scrambled around to find some oil but when they arrived at the wedding banquet the doors were shut. They were too late. Upon appealing to the Lord to open the door, he replied “Truly I tell you, I don’t know you Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. .” (vv. 12-13) Nike is famous for its slogan “Just Do It.” God is telling us “Do it Now.”
In His earthly ministry, Jesus had the disciples with them for three years. These three years were not a time of going from city to city so He could be seen and praised. The main purpose of these three years was to prepare the disciples for what was to come. His last words before ascending into heaven was a command to “Go” – make disciples, baptize, teach. Do what I have been teaching you. We, too, are His disciples.