The road was lined with pines and oaks at their peak of Spring growth. Yellow pollen was everywhere, blown from the trees by stiff breezes that are common in late April in central North Carolina. Flowers and trees were in bloom. We were in light clothing as the temperatures were mild and the sun was bright. After a few hours we stopped for a break in the Virginia Piedmont. The breezes had picked up, so flags stood straight out. Temperatures had dropped fifteen degrees, but it was still partly sunny.
By the time we reached the third ridge of mountains near the West Virginia border, it was freezing and beginning to snow. The roads had been salted, but snow was falling fast enough to collect on the roadway. It was too late to go back. Regardless of our preparation, we had to continue to our destination that was still an hour away and two ridges further into the mountains. Would we make it?
Every wise military leader knows: the day the war starts is too late to train. Every coast guard leader knows: the day the dangerous storm arrives is too late to train for emergencies that might happen. Wise believers in the Lord Jesus Christ know that its too late to prepare for battle the day or time the challenges are at the doorstep. Each one must enter the situation with whatever they have already learned. If they are ill-prepared, they may fail or not survive. And, others will be affected by the failure.
The Bible is plain about preparation. Whether one looks at Matthew 25, the listing of characteristics of a prepared believer in Ephesians 6, the counsel to young Timothy, or the listing of things that are slowly added to faith in 2 Peter 1, the steps of a wise believer involve preparation. The Word becomes counsel. Faith is strengthened by smaller trials and testing. The voice of the Spirit in the heart becomes precious and quickly obeyed. None of these things come without daily attention, obedience, and grace. When the storms come, and they come to all, the believer who has prepared can stand without regret.
Are we in the process of preparing? Or, have we forgotten the basics so that the cares and dramas of life have become more important? Is Christ an add-on to life, or is He life?
Did we make it in the unexpected Spring storm? Yes. We carry extra layers of clothing, basic tools, light blankets, an emergency kit, a little food, and the means to hunker down overnight if we have to. We have learned. Do likewise in spiritual matters. Prepare. Weed the sin rather than let it take hold. Let the normal conduct of daily life embrace growth in Christ.
Storms are already upon us. Who is prepared for them?