A door downstairs flew open, jarring me from my peaceful sleep. “Oh NO! What time is it?!” Fumbling for my phone to check the time I see that we had already overslept an hour. I was tumbling out of bed, down the stairs, asking “What do you need?” while gathering socks, Gatorade, and miscellaneous lunch items. This poor grown child looked at me with terrified, sleep filled eyes and said “This has to be a nightmare!”
Football two-a-days. This is a taboo phrase in our house. Not to be spoken aloud, basically like a four-letter word times four (so you know it’s really, really bad!) If you have had any part in them ever, the memory will stay with you eternally. So, when the alarm didn’t go off at 4:55 for the first time or 5:05 for the second time, we slept until the 10th phone call woke my blissfully unaware son at 6:00. Thus inducing the Fear Of Coach panic that flooded each of us. He was out the door in record time and I collapsed into a chair after and remember these words from two years ago during the same season of life …
We had spent the day at the ballpark watching a double header and our friends’ son in his Major League pitching debut. However, with all of the poster-making, jumbo-tron dancing, hot dog eating excitement of the afternoon it wasn’t until we were on our way home (at 10:30 pm) that I realized I still had two pair of football pants that needed to be washed (spray the Shout, scrub the stains, wash, rinse, repeat if necessary) and more importantly dry by the wee hours of the morning. Fun has a price. So, while I waited on the washing machine to do it’s thing, I thought, “You should pack Ty’s lunch. You will thank yourself in the morning when all you have to do is roll out of bed, grab a coffee, and head out the door.” I also searched out socks (why does this always seem to be the one missing item?) and had his football bag otherwise packed and ready to go because I knew neither of us would be functional this morning. And I was right. And I did thank myself. On my drive back home from the football field as the coffee began to work and my brain began to wake up I had a thought. I remembered something I had heard a very long time ago and thought it was a great reminder for all of us. I was as true then as it is now!
You have to live ready.
Tomorrow may be a good day or tomorrow may be a nightmare. Will you be ready? Is your faith something you are building and strengthening everyday? Is your relationship with Jesus something you are nurturing? Or, are these just things that get dusted off, possibly on Sunday, and otherwise left alone only to be unpacked In Case Of Emergency. Are you waiting for “tomorrow” to explore this Jesus-thing a little bit deeper? If this is where you find yourself, please, wake up!
When the alarm goes off (hopefully when it is supposed to) at 5am after too few hours of sleep, is your bag packed? Do you have clean matching socks and a lunch or are you scrambling to pull it together? We have to live ready because we don’t know when the crisis alarm is going to go off. We don’t get a notification in the mail that says, next month you will be diagnosed with a life-altering disease, please plan accordingly. We don’t receive a call that says, please make sure you have appropriate clothing you will be attending a funeral next week. (Maybe yours? I am sorry. That is harsh but it is also reality.) Ready or not, here it comes, with no warning.
We have to live ready! We need to use and strengthen our “faith muscles” every day because if we wait until crisis strikes they will be sluggish and sleepy when we need them most. We will have to dust our faith off and hope that we remember how to work it. It is so very easy to let our faith and relationship with Jesus rest in hibernation, only to be awakened in crisis.
This is a slippery slope. I know. I have been there. I grew up in a solid Christian home, was involved in church. We were bringing our children up to love and fear the Lord. I thought I got it. Then God let me really have it! Oh, foolish proud heart. I have realized that I had nothing without Him. I am nothing without Him.
The problem with crisis is that we don’t know when the alarm is going to go off. When crisis strikes, your brain tends to go into default mode. So what is your default? You want live ready? Nurture your relationship with God. If you don’t have one, start one! If you don’t know how, ask me, I would love to help you figure this out. Dig into His Word for nourishment, spend time in prayer, communicating with our Father. Listen for His voice instead of just talking at Him. I don’t have all the answers. There is not an Easy 5 Step Plan For Readiness but we can stumble and bumble through this together. There are some things you will never be ready for but with faith you can survive them with hope for a better day ahead. The point is, don’t wait.
I can remember playing Parcheesi with my son and mom, 8 years ago at least. In the spirit of competition there was a little smack-talk going on and my son looked at my mom and told her, “Pack your bags your going home!” This my friends, is great advice, pack your bags. Live ready. You’ll thank yourself in the morning.