It's All in the Preparation
By Candy Arrington
"There are many rooms in my Father's house. If this were not true, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2 NIrV).
Recently, our son married the girl of his dreams. As I watched him exchange vows with this lovely young woman, I thought of all the preparation that occurred to get them to this day. Not just preparation for the wedding, but all that had been poured into their lives prior to this moment—training, teaching, encouraging, correcting, consoling, and mentoring—all to get them to this point of becoming a new family.
The Bible is filled with references to preparation. For the Jews, the sixth day of the week was called preparation day. King David made extensive preparations for the construction of the temple, even though he knew it wouldn't be built in his lifetime. (1 Chronicles 22:5) Esther, raised by her uncle, Mordecai, prepared for a year to be presented to the king. When the time came for her to risk her life to save her people, her uncle reminded her that her position and purpose were all part of God's plan. (Esther 4:14) Paul likened spiritual growth to the preparation and perseverance involved in training for athletic competitions. And John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. (Luke 1:76)
Days before Jesus was crucified, a woman anointed his head with perfume, an act which he referred to as preparation for his burial. Jesus sent his disciples to make preparations for the Passover meal, The Last Supper.
When Jesus began his ministry, he came to that point after years of preparation. Even though he knew his purpose on earth long before his ministry began, he still went through periods of growth, development, and learning, patiently awaiting the fulfillment of his mission.
Jesus' whole life was preparation for the cross. Learning the Law as a young boy, the training and physical skill in his father's carpenter shop, and those times of quiet communion, apart from others, in the early morning hours with his father, all were preparation for the fulfillment of God's plan for the redemption of mankind. If Jesus hadn't had this preparation, would he have walked out of the Garden of Gethsemane and away from the cross instead of submitting to the Father's will? Although he knew what was ahead, Jesus was obedient, sealing our pardon and our eternity.
Often, we're in a hurry implement our plans and reach our goals. But if we're not careful, we'll miss the joys and lessons that result from what is happening in our lives right now, or miss assignments God has for us. Conversely, we sometimes dread the next season of our lives because we allow anxiety and fear to rule rather than resting with patient trust and confidence in God's provision and care.
"Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed" (2 Timothy 2:21 GNT).
Not much in our lives happens successfully without some form of preparation. Sometimes, like King David, we're involved in preparation for which we never see the end result. But the best, and most beneficial preparation, is the time we spend alone with our Father, listening, learning, growing, and preparing for the next step and our usefulness in God's plan.
Copyright © 2014 Candy Arrington. Used with permission.
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Candy Arrington's publishing credits include The Lookout, Encounter, Focus on the Family, Clubhouse, The Upper Room, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She is coauthor of Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group)and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House Publishers). Candy and her husband, Jim, live in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she writes about the lessons God is teaching her. www.CandyArrington.com
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