Be Brave

Be Brave
Attribution: Maggie Smith/

July 31, 2015

Are You Ready?

I woke up recently, in more ways than one. I lay in bed one morning, not yet praying, but thinking. Then a thought came to me: what would it be like when Jesus comes back? How would it be for me? Then, in what I can only say must have been a 'guided image,' I saw Jesus suddenly shining like the lightening from the east to the west around the Earth. Then, as I was being lifted up into the sky to be drawn to Him, my only thought was, 'Wait! I'm not ready!'

I was surprised, shocked. What? Me, not ready? Do I love my life so much, or the world so much that I would seriously say such a thing? And as I thought about how I had felt when saying 'I'm not ready!' I had to admit that it was my life, no matter how dull or painful or uninteresting it might be, that I was talking about. Apparently, I am ready to be with Him when I am in one of those life states, when I am complaining that I think I am ready, but that isn't what He means when He says: 'Are you ready for Me?'

The experience forced me to ask what it means to be ready. I always thought I was ready. When I was younger, I was sure that I would be one of the ones 'caught up into the air' to be with Him. And even though I learned later that I wasn't then nearly ready for the experience; I have to ask myself today: Am I ready?

What does it mean to be ready?

Jesus told a parable of twelve virgins. They were waiting for the bridegroom and the wedding party. As they waited it grew late. They were all asleep when the call came to go out to meet them. The virgins trimmed the wicks in their lamps and in so doing, the six virgins who were designated in the story as being foolish found that they did not have enough oil. They asked the six wise virgins to give to them some of their oil, but the wise virgins said no.
'Go to the market and buy some oil. If we give ours to you, we won't have enough either.'

There have been many explanations for the story to make it more understandable. Some think that it has something to do with being baptized in the Holy Spirit, some say it has to do with being asleep when the wedding party arrives, and other explanations. But, the story is about the wise and the foolish.

It isn't about whether they had oil. All the virgins in the story had oil. It isn't about whether they fell asleep while waiting. All of the virgins in the story fell asleep. It's about whether they were ready. The wise virgins were ready with enough oil. They had prepared in advance. They had enough oil because they had been with the Master day in and day out in prayer, in fasting, in dragging that heavy wooden cross around with them. They knew the value of the cross that symbolizes death to self, death to the world and life in Christ. They knew the value of seeking God's face. The foolish virgins were careless about preparations. They relied on the belief that any preparations, even last minute ones, or ones that were lacking, would be enough. And as we see in the story, they aren't.

Am I ready? Am I doing what I have been called to do? Am I ignoring my calling? In what part of my life are my preparations lacking? Have I sought God's face enough, been in His presence enough? I have to answer those questions for myself.

So do you. Unless, of course, you are like one of the foolish virgins who where not ready, though they thought they were.

Be brave: prepare and warn others, too.