Preparations are a part of life. Parents prepare meals for their children, teachers prepare lesson plans, pastors prepare sermons, high school seniors are preparing for graduation, and soon (I hope) farmers will prepare the soil for planting. On a daily basis, most people are putting something in order for a future time. My family is in the midst of an intensified season of preparation. We are in the process of moving.
I have changed addresses many times throughout my adult life; this is number ten to be exact. However, I don’t particularly enjoy moving. It’s not that I’m overly sentimental or attached to a particular house. And even having the best neighbors in the world (aka The Woodleys☺) hasn’t derailed our current undertaking to transplant to a different neighborhood. The disdain I have for relocating is due to the preparations involved. Not only is there the sorting and packing and dismantling of things at our current residence, there are arrangements that need to be made for the transfer of utilities and mail and other paperwork. We have also been doing some renovations at our future home in preparation for the big move – cleaning, painting, removing carpet, updating some plumbing and heating, and trying to keep the snow moved.
Preparations require a lot of work. Necessary work. Sure there are times when we can wing it, or go with the flow, but lack of preparation often leads to stress and frustration and maybe even some tears. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
God’s Word also talks about preparations. 2 Chronicles 12 records a time in the history of God’s people when the king did evil because he had not prepared his heart to seek the Lord. This is true for all of us. When we do not prepare our hearts to follow Jesus, when we do not determine to be obedient to His commands, and when we are inattentive to the evil around us, we slip into destructive patterns and habitual sins and dishonor God. We do evil because we fail to prepare.
Lent is a season of preparation. We are preparing our hearts to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior. Some choose to prepare by fasting, eating different foods, or giving up something and denying themselves a particular pleasure. Others prepare by spending time in God’s Word, increasing their prayer time, or being more intentional of their spiritual formation, while others will arrive at Easter morning with no thought or preparation at all.
Jesus is also making preparations. In John chapter 14, Jesus tells his disciples to not focus on the troubles in this world because he is going to prepare a place for them in his Father’s house. And when those preparations are complete he will return.
None of us know when that day will come. We do not know the number of days allotted to us on this earth. We do not know when “Moving Day” will be. But we can be certain that the time will come when the opportunity to make preparations is gone. Whether we leave this world as an individual or Christ returns for the final judgement, the time to prepare will be over. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus has prepared a way for us to be reconciled to God and spend eternity with him. All we have to do is believe in him and prepare our hearts by seeking him.
What are you doing to prepare your heart?