Who would have thought? Here I am on Halloween day with a big red bloodshot eye sitting in an urgent care office in Jacksonville, Alabama. The pharmaceutical rep at the window was dressed in a witch’s costume. I’ve seen all sorts of goblins already today, but the very first was when I looked in the mirror upon awakening. I believe I am about to receive a diagnosis of pink-eye!
You never know what a day may hold. A few days ago, some faithful people in Bremen, Georgia woke up in a near-perfect world, only to end the day hoping against hope that their near perfect 18-year-old son would survive what appeared to be a fatal car crash. He passed away two days later. Two young children in Michigan awoke a few days ago in fairly normal circumstances in a Christian home. By the end of the trauma that began that day, both parents had been placed in facilities in which they could receive care for mental breakdowns. The ravaging storms that have blasted our eastern seaboard in recent days found some coastal families on cruise ships. They have yet to return to find out whether or not the homes left behind have safely survived the tempest. In all of these situations, emergencies surprised families and there was absolutely no way the individuals involved could have been fully prepared.
Emergency preparedness is a common catchword among government service groups and volunteer organizations of all kinds. It has applications in situations of terror, war, natural disasters and ecology. Have you ever considered that the most important sort of preparedness is spiritual emergency preparedness?
Jesus described several spiritual emergencies in His parables and accounts. The rich man of Luke 15 certainly found himself in a situation of dire emergency after his passing –a situation about which he could do absolutely nothing “for there was a great gulf fixed.” Others were given opportunity to respond to emergency situations. Think of the prodigal son and the desperate condition in which he found himself as he became famished in the pigpen. Although, his situation was self-imposed, his response, in the end was a self-imposed emergency response that led him home and back to the father’s table.
We all come to grips with a spiritual emergency during this life. The catalyst of the emergency (the storm) is our own sin and the dire situation (life in the balance) is the prospect of eternal hell. Sometimes we wake up in the morning and we have no idea how the devil is going to try to take us down on that very day! Our emergency response is critical to our eternal safety. What’s in your spiritual emergency preparedness kit?
Do you have water? The living water about which Jesus spoke in his conversation with the woman at the well (John 4:10) is a staple of any spiritual preparation as is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Do you have it? What about necessary medications, balms and bandages? Do you have the prescriptions of the Great Physician at the ready (Luke 5:31)? Have you included the Balm of Gilead (Jer. 8:22)? Have you procured a place of shelter–a refuge–and have you notified your family and friends of the location of this shelter (Heb. 6:18)? What about a means of communication so that you can receive important instructions for survival (Ps. 119:50)? What about a means by which you can speak to your support system (Ps. 55:17)? Do you have a plan of escape or recovery (I Cor. 10:13)?
See, if you and I wait until the day of judgement, we will have sinned away the time of hope. Judgment, for the unprepared, then, will be the ultimate emergency and there will be no survivors amongst them. We must work, study, pray and grow now–in the time of relative ease, for the day of emergency does not come upon invitation. It comes unexpectedly (II Peter 3:10). One day, you will get up in the morning to what appears to be a normal day. But it will be the judgement day. Are you prepared?