Majority of people will know their birthday but no one will know truly their death day. A morbid way to start a post but this is true because so many people live on without realizing the blessing of every day and we spend more time wasting rather than maximizing. Yes you can veg out from time to time but if we are to look at the life we have lived thus far, can we say we’ve been living life to the max or been more of a sack of complaints?
I heard this statement long time ago but it didn’t really change the way I lived my life as I went on to “normal,” but little did I know the impending reality of the statement in my life. I didn’t share the story I am about to tell you for a while because I didn’t know how to make sense of it all but now I share it when prompted by the Holy Spirit because there are some hard lessons on life through this tragic event. I hope you don’t require first hand experience to realize the preciousness of life, the gift of the present, and the unguaranteed nature of tomorrow.
I was coming home one day from a revival service where God moved powerfully to set people free from their addictions, bondages, and oppression from the enemy. It was getting late at night and I wanted to finish preparing for my Sunday sermon so I asked my friend to drive my car for me. On our way back home, we were going through an empty highway on the I5 north, heading from San Diego to LA around midnight. Our drive was smooth until I heard from my friend, “Oh my God!!!” Like the matrix when it goes into slow motion bullet time mode, I look up to see two people run into the lane we were in and the side of the car I was sitting on exploding as I saw a body flying past while the other body hits the front windshield and rolling over the top of my car.
In a moment, everything changed. My friend pulled over to the side of the road and the people in the back woke up to chaos but by the grace of God, I was able to stay calm and told everyone to stay calm as I grabbed a flashlight to go assess the situation. I remember that night so vividly as I was running down a dark highway because there are no street lamps in that part of I5 as it hugs the pacific coast as my repeating thought were on the bodies I saw and the deaths which most likely occurred.
I found one of the people in the middle of the road and it was such a surreal moment because in my mind, I was staring at a lifeless body and I was motioning to oncoming traffic to stop which to my frustration some would stop but keep on driving! The anger subsided from the people leaving when someone else came with another person to help create a blockade with their cars over the body to protect the person from oncoming traffic. To our relief, the person was groaning which showed us signs of life. Unfortunately, the other person was found dead and God rest his soul but the police came and logged the situation. In the chaos of the accident, the passage in Philippians 4:6-7 became more than a theory but reality for me, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
The situation didn’t give me peace but I had peace. I could have freaked out but I was calm. We later found out the identity of the deceased person was a marine and there was a statement from the family to us whom we were unable to meet. They didn’t blame us for the accident and encouraged us to not feel any guilt for the night. This accident taught us all a valuable lesson about life and how we can have it taken away in a moment. The two gentlemen woke up to another morning like any other day and could not possibly have known what will await them at night. My friends and I didn’t wake up in the morning knowing what awaited us in the night on the highway back home.
In today’s parable of the Ten Virgins, the concept is the same as the lesson I learned through the accident, that lives can change at any moment. The main emphasis of this parable is to not only anticipate but prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus Christ. The ten virgins all were anticipating the arrival of the bridegroom but only five prepared themselves for it. All waited, and all slept but only five were ready when the bridegroom actually came because they were in a constant state of preparation. Jesus states He will come like a thief in the night, where no one knows the exact time of His arrival but He proclaimed He will be coming. For those who know, they not only anticipate this but they also prepare for this by the life they choose to live now. Heaven is something they don’t wait for but actively pursue now because they know in Christ, heaven can be touched now and the church is to actively be the bridge between the heavenly unseen reality to the reality we experience with our senses.
Some people fall into the lie that they can know or pursue Jesus later in life because they believe in the mythical “tomorrow” to finally go for it but just like my life experience and the virgins in the parable, life can be unpredictable and like life, Jesus will come when we will most likely not expect so therefore our only option for this anticipation is daily preparation.
What does daily preparation look like? It doesn’t mean we simply wait around and do nothing because the early church was rebuked for such a response. So many people anticipated the arrival of Jesus to be soon, which led them to become bums who mooched off the backs of the believers who did work. So what is the answer? To be in a posture of preparation, we are to live the Christian lifestyle Jesus calls his disciples to live. To be more like Jesus and I am going to highlight two passages where one tells us the posture of the believer and the actions of a believer.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’”
These are but one of many examples of how we can live in preparation in this life. If you find yourself constantly pushing of the things of God and even coming out to church or going on missions because other things are more of a priority, you are only setting yourself up in such a way where Jesus will only catch you sleeping.
Let us anticipate.
Let us prepare.