Ready or not

We were awakened by the blaring of the tornado siren. We grabbed clothes, kids, and our emergency box and made our way to the shelter. The storm passed while we were underground. We were relieved.

After emerging from the shelter and getting our children situated in bed, another emotion emerged which might be described as discomfiture. I had never been so caught off guard with a severe storm as I was that Tuesday night.

I am a low-level weather enthusiast. With proper training I probably would have chased tornadoes. While I enjoy the weather, I pay attention to it so my family doesn’t have to worry. But that night I let my guard and my family down.

I did not tell my wife about the Storm Prediction Center outlook that I glanced at that day. I did not check to see if our emergency box was in the shelter. We did not have rain jackets or boots by the back door. We were sound asleep and not prepared for the coming storm.

Contemplating our unreadiness, even more disheartening thoughts came to mind. What if we are unprepared for judgment day? If we feel this uneasy after a surprising storm, how would we feel on that great and final day?

While those were disconcerting, my mind turned to a more constructive question: Why? Why did I disregard the cautions that would normally have caused alertness? Why did I neglect the very preparations that were routine a year ago? Why will people be unready when Jesus comes again?

Distraction

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (Matthew 24:42-44 ESV).

We only have room for so much in our minds. The Coronavirus, and the resulting COVID-19, has taken semi-permanent residence in many people’s thoughts. Many have become familiarized with immunology and virology. We have learned about incubation periods and asymptomatic infections. We hear arguments about infection and mortality rates. We hope for antibodies and functional immunity.

I was distracted by other cares. I saw the concerns that the professionals had about potential storms, but those concerns did not register.

Perhaps people hear the warnings Jesus offers, but are too distracted with life.

Overconfidence

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor (Proverbs 29:23).

If I am being honest, there was some pride associated with my weather watching. I’m not an expert, but I was confident in my ability to digest information and make informed decisions.

Pride clouds our minds. Many may walk through life overconfident in their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Prior preparation

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace (Galatians 5:4).

Last year, I paid close attention on the days with dangerous set-ups. I stayed up when storms might move through late. Perhaps with all that preparation last season I forgot that we must be ready today.

To Christians, the Hebrews writer said, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it” (Hebrews 2:1). Our walk with Jesus is one of daily discipline (Luke 9:23).

Reliance on others

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

My family relies upon me to keep them safe. That is good, so long as I am prepared.

Yet when Jesus comes again, one cannot rely upon the preparation of their spouse, their parents, or their children. We will all be judged as individuals. The faithfulness of our loved ones will not transfer over to us.

While our recent storm was relatively minor, it reminded me of that which is much more important. Judgment day is the beginning of eternity. Do not be like the foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). Ready or not, Jesus will come.

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