Monday, January 25, 2010

Are you prepared?

Don't you just love weddings? I sure do.

Last year, a girlfriend of mine announced that her daughter was getting married.
Over the past 12 months, I've had the privilege of hearing all about the special wedding plans, checking out the registry list, going to the much anticipated bridal shower, and viewing the beautiful invitations.

It has been a couple of years since Keith and I have been invited to a wedding so last Friday night we eagerly slipped on our very best wedding attire and headed for the church.

As we entered the elaborate sanctuary, my eyes were immediately drawn to the illuminescent candelabras that lined the main isle leading up to the front altar. Crisp white linen runners boarded the side isles and beautiful potted trees with delicate flower filled vases cascaded gently over the front altar to create the most exquisite backdrop I had every seen.

As soft music played in the background, you could hear the quiet rumble of voices as people entered the church ,waving to friends, and anxiously awaiting for the grand procession to begin.

As the lights were dimmed and the music began to play, every head turned to welcome the grand procession of the bridesmaids, signally the soon to arrive bride. As the first bridesmaids appeared, I was taken back by what she was holding. In her hands was a beautiful decorative lantern which held a single ivory candle. The illumination of its flame blossomed all around her as she glided up red satin runner. The scene was so magnificent that it took my breath away.

My thoughts quickly shifted to the parable in Matthew 25 about the 10 virgins that were waiting for their bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish virgins took their lamps but forgot to bring oil. The wise virgins took their lamps and remembered to bring extra oil. The bridegroom took a long time so virgins became tired and fell asleep. At midnight, the bride arrived. The wise virgins had plenty of oil to light their lamps but the foolish virgins didn't. While they were away buying oil the bridegroom arrived so the five wise virgins got to go into the wedding banquet with him and the door was closed behind them. When the foolish virgins returned with their lamps and oil the door was shut. They asked to come inside but were refused.

As I reflect on this story, my heart breaks for the five foolish virgins. They were so eager to see the bridegroom and waited so long for his arrival. They remembered to bring their lamps but forgot the oil to keep the lamps burning. Although they had great intentions they just weren't properly prepared.

I believe many of us have great intentions. We eagerly await for something amazing to happen in our lives and often times have to wait longer than we originally anticipated. As time passes we become weary and often "fall asleep" to the circumstances around us. We loose sight of what we were waiting for in the first place and become distracted by so many other things. When that long anticipated moment finally arrives, we may realize that we simply aren't prepared like we thought we were.

I don't know about you but I don't want to be left out on what God has in store for me - in this life or in heaven. I want to be prepared. I don't want to just have good intentions. I don't want to miss out on my calling or an opportunity God has in store for me because I became weary and distracted during my time of waiting on Him.

Have you ever become weary and tired of waiting on God? Maybe you've been praying for something to happen in your life and it just feels like your prayer will never be answered. Maybe you think that moment will never come. Maybe you're starting to believe that God will never show up and rescue you from a tough situation.

Let me encourage you by saying that God answers every single one of your prayers. Sometimes
that answer is yes. Sometimes that answer is no. And, sometimes that answer is not yet.

May I suggest that while we wait on Him we make sure we're fully prepared. Let's remind ourselves that it's more than having great intentions and ask ourselves, "what else should I be doing while I wait on the Lord?". Most of all, lets not become weary or distracted by the world and "fall asleep" as the five foolish virgins did. We don't want to miss out when God shows up in the midst of your circumstances. We don't want the door of opportunity to be shut before us because we weren't prepared. We want to be ready.

So let me ask you... what should you begin doing today to be prepared?

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