You've heard the Boy Scout motto, "Be prepared," right? Sure, we all have. The question is how many of us live by that motto. I'm sorry to say that the other day I was caught in a situation that I wasn't prepared for.
The day was just an ordinary day. It was late afternoon, and we had taken our dogs to the park for a walk. We were about 3/4 of a mile from the car when we heard the rumbling of thunder in the distance. Disappointed to cut our walk short, but now wanting to get caught in a storm, we turned around and headed back. We had only walked a handful of steps when the bottom fell out. To say it was pouring would be a serious understatement. In just a few moments, the sky was completely dark, the rain was coming down so hard I could barely see, and the thunder that had seemed so distant was upon us. We picked up our pace. Jason was walking briskly. I was half-running. The dogs were unhappy about getting wet, so they kept stopping to shake water from their backs (a lot of good that was doing.)
As we walked/ran to the car, I was sure that the rain would soon stop. It didn't. It poured the entire 3/4 of a mile. My clothes were drenched and clingy. My shoes were squishing with every step I took. My hat was soaked through to my hair which was soaked through to my head and so on. Mud splashed on my legs as I walked through the quickly forming puddles/rivers. It was not a pleasant walk!
Finally, we arrived at the car. We hurriedly got the dogs in the car and then jumped in ourselves. Now, before I go any farther in this story, let me remind you that we are seasoned hikers. We know that the trails can be unpredictable, so it is important to be prepared for many different things. We had our water, our first aid kit, snacks, flashlight, etc. We even had extra shirts in the car. What we didn't have was a towel or a change of shoes and socks. We know that we should keep them in the car. In fact, we've had intentions of putting them in the car for a long time. We just never got around to it. So, we changed into our dry shirts (which didn't stay dry very long) and rode home in complete misery.
If you live in South Carolina in the summer, you'll soon discover that thunderstorms can pop up very quickly. The sky can be completely clear one minute and dark and stormy the next. Scattered thunderstorms are a normal part of a South Carolina summer.
Unfortunately, storms are also a normal part of the Christian life. It may look like smooth sailing, but if you stick around long enough, you'll see storms on the horizon. The storms will come. The question is will we be prepared.
Preparing for the storms in the Christian life involves a little more than just grabbing a towel and an extra pair of shoes. It requires a well-rooted faith, a knowledge of the Word, and a close relationship with Jesus Christ. It's hard to work on these things in the middle of storm, and that's why we should have these things firmly established before we face the storm. Use the "sunny" times as opportunities to build up your essentials for facing the storm. Prepare yourself for the onslaught, for it will come. Just like a thunderstorm, you don't know where and when it's going to hit. Be prepared lest you find yourself soaking wet and shivering from the cold while thinking how much better things could have been had you listened to the Boy Scouts.