The need to prepare can be a hidden sin.
Yep, you boy scouts out there take heed.
Now there is nothing wrong with being prepared -- up to a point. It's
good to have the old rainproof tent and the nice waterproof matches
when you are camping during a thunderstorm. This is what we call common
sense, being practical, being ready.
What concerns me is when we take those preparatory measures to an extreme.
I know what you are thinking. Being prepared down to the checklist
is synonymous with being responsible and efficient. Why wouldn't we
live our lives this way? Shouldn't we live an orderly life?
Before you get upset with me, hear me out. You see, we can still do
the right thing but do it for the wrong reasons. Sometimes we do good
things out of obligation instead of sincere love for our fellow man.
Sometimes we take positive actions, but only because we fear retribution.
And sometimes we do things as a way to control our world so that we
don't depend on anyone else -- not even God.
Oops! For many of us, this last thought is the clincher.
While we are going about our days, ensuring that if this or that happens
then we have the right things with us, we have the answers, we will
be prepared for every impending emergency, our minds are reeling and
our hearts are racing. We run around like chickens with heads cut off,
or we worry that we won't have it all together and then what? embarrassment?
guilt? disapproval from others? being out of control? (Heaven forbid!)
For some of us, hidden beneath those day planners, kitchen calendars,
and massive first aid kits is a belief that if we aren't
prepared, nothing will go right, as if it's all up to
You know, guys, life isn't all about us. Life goes
on without us quite nicely. The sun will still rise
and set, the birds will still get fed, and the grass
will still grow -- all without our help.
Pride tells us to be self-reliant. Pride tells us the world will fall
apart if such and such happens. But really what our hearts are telling
us is that we don't have faith to believe God can pull us through.
Did He not pull us from the miry clay? Isn't He the one who comes to
rescue those who call upon His name and the one who will also keep the
feet of the righteous from stumbling?
The older I get, the more I realize that there are situations -- good
and bad -- that are going to surprise the heck out of me. But that is
exactly where God comes in.
We can read all the right how-to books, go to all the
right conferences, listen to all the right tape series,
go to all the right accountability groups, and, still,
we can cower, faint, or become clueless when faced with
something bigger than ourselves.
Instead of focusing on preparing for the event or meeting or moment,
maybe we should prepare our hearts for what is to come. "Be still and
know that I am God," it says in Psalm 46:10. It also says not to worry
about anything, but in everything to present your prayers before the
Lord and the Lord will give you peace (Philippians 4:6-7). Instead of
leaning on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), acknowledge, as it
says in Isaiah 55:8, that man's ways are not God's ways.
You don't have to understand it all. You don't have to know it all.
But if you want to survive out there without giving yourself an ulcer,
you had better take it all to the Lord first. He will tell you how to
prepare if you need to. In fact, He will be sure to get your character
on track so you won't die in the process.
Just like the story of Mary and Martha, take the time to sit at the
feet of Jesus. And no, don't pencil Him in -- He will
want the whole day, believe me!
God knows there are things that need to be done, but
be sensitive to His leading first. Then, and only then,
will your preparations be done with the needed joy and
peace and wisdom -- to not only bless the Lord but those
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace…" (Isaiah