Be Prepared

“Be on guard! Be alert!  You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going on a journey, he leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore, keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone, watch!” -Mark 13:33-37

 

As I was driving into work this morning I noticed that the winter plow crew put up their snow stakes along the road and parking lot entrance. I remember when we first moved here, four short (or long depending on how I look at it) years ago and seeing the stakes along the road. We arrived to the North Country right at the beginning of winter, and apparently, according to all you local yocals, it was a pretty rough winter that year, 2014. We had LOTS of snow in the first part of November, keeping the kids out of school for, I think a week or more. I remembered looking at how tall those snow stakes were, with their orange spray painted tips. I wondered if the snow really got that high…it was just a few short weeks before I realized, yep, it sure did. What a winter wonderland we live in!

 

My family has lived in a lot of snowy, wintery places over the years, Alaska, Colorado, Germany…but until we got here, we were never forewarned to “be ready” like we were when we arrived that snowy November. Specifically, we were told no later than October 1st. “You better be ready by then or you may be sorry”. A laundry list of chores came with prepping for the approaching season, which is not news to any of you. I’d never seen so many well-seasoned professionals until we got here. We’d never had a wood stove before so having to buy wood, split it, stack it and eventually haul it to the basement was all new to us. I prided myself in being the newest frontier woman, the Laura Ingalls of the North Country. Hahaha! Yea, that excitement lasted a whole month, if that. The usual routine, as you know, every year is to tighten everything down, store all your equipment, put away the patio furniture and flower pots, pull out your A/C units, clean out the chimney, get the shovels and salt out and have them handy, winterize your vehicles and snow blower. I never knew winter would be so much work…until it was. As children, we looked forward to the joys of building snow men and sledding then coming in for hot chocolate in front of the fireplace. Now, winter doesn’t seem so fun and it seems much colder than I ever remember, and windy. Playing outside is a distant memory, now I do just as the bible verse suggests, I keep watch, wondering if we should believe the weathermen or not. It’s sad really, to think how the innocent and carefree attitude of our childhood passes away just as quickly as Old Man Winter moves in and steals away our gorgeous, yet short Spring, Summer and Fall.

 

We spend SOOO much time talking and thinking and prepping and planning to get ready for the coming season change. And we have a pretty good idea of a round about time when it’s coming. We set our clocks by the seasons, there’s never any question as to when winter is coming and usually we are always forewarned ahead of time by the cold breeze or rain that creeps in and takes all the beautiful leaves with it. It’s a pretty consistent timeframe (give or take a few weeks depending on the year I’ve learned) that you can drive down the road and see smoke bellowing from every chimney, imagining families warm and cozy inside, hunkered down as the first snow starts to fall. It becomes eerily quiet outside the heavier it falls and the deeper it gets. Boots, coats, gloves, hats all pulled from the closet and ready to put on at a moment’s notice. The first sign of a chill in the air we are locking windows and cranking the furnace.

 

What came to mind as I drove into work this morning was something we’ve probably all considered at some point in our lives. But what if we spent as much time prepping for the return of our Lord as we did to get ready for winter, or anything else that we invest much time and effort into for that matter? What would it look like if we stayed within the boundaries (like the plow trucks have with the stakes) that God has given us in His word to keep ourselves on the road less traveled. We have all the instructions we need for preparing right at our fingertips. We don’t have to go shopping for anything, He’s given us everything we need to “be ready”.

 

The Bible tells us that not one knows, not the angels in heaven, not even the Son knows when He will return, only the Father knows. We have a pretty exact time frame for winter’s approach every single year, it’s not typically a surprise. Even though the Bible tells us that we will begin to see certain things happening in the last days and lays out a list of things that will take place before His return, we still are unsure of the exact day and time. So we should be living expectantly towards our Savior’s return but not in a dreaded sense like most of us do (I won’t say all of us because I know there are many people who aren’t bothered or even look forward to it with joy filled hearts) with the gloom and doom approach of winter. No! We should have a joyous outlook for what’s to come when He arrives. I know I do not want to be left unprepared, but if I’m being honest, there are days that I live as though I am, taking the passing days for granted. Let’s not wallow in shame and pity, but instead put on the Armor, step into the race, and be on guard! Just as a child watches so diligently out the window for the first snowflake to fall so they can run outside to enjoy it, we too, child and adult alike should be ever so watchful and joy filled for His return. It’s certainly those who are ready that will find joy and excitement in that day, those who are not will remember the above verse and wish they’d prepared as well as they did for the coming winters. Will you be left out in the cold unprepared or will you be joined up in the clouds, warmed by the glory of His light and love?

 

If Jesus came back for us today…would you feel confident that you’ve forgiven those you need to forgive? Would you have done well investing more in people than in purchases or wasted idols? Would you have asked for forgiveness where you need to? Would you be caught on a slippery slope spiraling downward, possibly taking others with you who didn’t even know they should be preparing? Or would you have already shoveled and salted the walkway so you don’t fall as you step, ensuring others that walk with you don’t fall either?

 

Blessings as we prep for both winter and the much awaited sound of trumpets!

 

Leah Parkin

Oct 30, 2018