Friday, December 1, 2023

Get Ready - Martin Wiles

Get Ready
You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24:44 NLT

I heard the alarm . . . and looked at my smartphone. 

In seven years, we had only had drills—no real alarm. But not this time. Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico infiltrated our area, bringing monsoon rains. From the West, a cold front approached, boasting fierce winds. The colliding fronts raised the risk of tornadoes. 

As I perched on my stool early in the afternoon, teaching my middle schoolers, the weather alert on my smartphone sounded. A tornado warning for our county greeted me when I looked down. No sooner had I read the warning than the headmaster came over the loudspeaker telling everyone we had a severe weather alert. This meant lining up against the walls in a protected covey, kneeling, and placing books over our heads. The students had practiced this many times but never in a for-real situation. 

As I sat against the wall, I checked the radar on my phone to see exactly where the danger lay. Our school was smack dab in the middle of dangerous storms. Periodically, the headmaster told us we could relax, meaning remove the books from our heads. Then, minutes later, he would announce we needed to return to our protected positions. For an hour, we kept up this relax-get-ready position until the strong line of thunderstorms had passed.

Some students thought this was only a drill, although we had told them differently. A few removed the books when they should not have, and a few more talked even though teachers had instructed them to remain silent so we could hear forthcoming announcements—a breach that led to consequences the next day. 

Most of the students maintained their protected position and followed directions. One high school class even sang “Jesus Loves Me.” At this age, students think they’re invincible, but I reminded them the next day that what we had experienced was the real deal—and that none of them was beyond severe injury or even death. 

Using the example of Noah and a thief at night, Jesus warned His listeners to be ready for His return. In Noah’s day, people had a good time, reveling in their sinful actions. They didn’t believe Noah when he told them a flood was coming. They perished. And if someone knew a thief planned to rob their home at night, wouldn’t they prepare to stop him? 

Speculation over when Jesus might return has been going on for years, but Jesus said no one knows when the event will occur. Even He, in His limited capacity as a human, didn’t know. Some have written books, and others have made elaborate charts, but the dates have come and gone—and Jesus hasn’t come. 

Perhaps the more significant lesson in Jesus’ caution to be ready is just that—be prepared . . . for life . . . and for His return. We never know what life will throw our way—and we can’t actually prepare for all the scenarios and the changes they might bring—but we can prepare generally and spiritually by reminding ourselves that God has our best interests at heart and loves us superlatively. 

And we can ready ourselves for Christ’s coming, whether in the sky or at our death. Either way, we’re going somewhere because life doesn’t end with death or Jesus’ Second Coming. Christ has paid for our sins. Accepting His gift readies us to meet Him when He comes and how He comes. 

Sometimes, I get a little impatient while waiting—as my students did. Living in this ever-changing world, where things get worse rather than better, makes me long for something better. A place called heaven. But like my kids, I stay in the ready position and keep doing God’s work, so I’ll be prepared when the Coming happens. 

Think of a few ways to prepare yourself for life and Christ’s coming.

Prayer: Father, may we live prepared to meet You when You come. 

Tweetable: Are you ready for Christ's return? 

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