Prepared and Preparing

At the beginning of the new year, no one was talking about Covid-19. In just 4 months the entire world has been turned upside down and no one saw it coming. Government leaders around the world have been criticized for being slow to respond and ill prepared for this crisis. There’s no shortage of finger pointing and blaming going around for the scarcity of PPE’s, the tanking economy, food shortages, lack of testing kits and delayed test results.

Many people feel very strongly about two things - that someone is responsible and it’s not themselves! Of course, most of us don’t have the expertise or authority to make policy decisions that can impact our society on the scale commensurate with the breadth of devastation that this virus has caused. But as much as we want to blame someone, which doesn’t do much good, we could do something more constructive and consider how we could have been better prepared ourselves. I’m not suggesting that we should have all had a stockpile of N95 masks and spam. I am talking about being in a thriving relationship with God. Those who have been walking with the Lord, allowing Him to address deep seated issues of insecurity, anxiety, depression, or control have been much better prepared to handle the pressure brought on by this current crisis. Christians who have learned to walk in the Spirit are experiencing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-23) even as others are fraying at the seams.

What Covid-19 can teach us is the importance of being prepared. Scripture tells us that the Lord’s second coming will be preceded by increasing levels of hardships and trials for the entire world generally and for Christians specifically (Matthew 24:3-13). We must be preparing for the reality that things will go from bad to worse, if not immediately, without a doubt, eventually (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Covid-19 is just the birth pangs leading up to the final delivery when Christ returns. In Jeremiah 12, the Lord spoke to Jeremiah whose faith was shaken by the decaying moral wickedness of his own people while the threat of invasion by Babylon cast an ominous shadow over the country. But instead of the Lord speaking comforting words, he gave a divine kick in the pants to the faltering prophet.

“If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?” Jeremiah 12:5

In other words, Jeremiah, if you are struggling now, how are you going to survive when things get worse? If your faith has been shaken by Covid-19, see this as a kick in the pants for you to be preparing for what’s ahead because the Lord has already told us things will get worse and the ultimate question is if we will be prepared for it.  This is why Jesus told two parables about being prepared in the context of His return. The first described five bridesmaids who were prepared for the surprise visit by the groom that inaugurated the wedding festivities. They were contrasted with five other bridesmaids who were unprepared and who ultimately were left out of the wedding. The second parable contrasted faithful servants who were found busy doing their master’s business with an unfaithful one who was not. This means that above all else, now is the time for us to be preparing ourselves by growing our relationship with the Lord and being about our Father’s business!