Are you ready?
'When Jesus returns, we don’t get to say goodbye to our friends and tie up loose ends, or pack up our belongings for safe keeping.'
If you’re anything like me, you love having a good morning routine. Mine currently involves a cup of tea, weetabix with strawberries (which our lovely neighbours deliver over the fence for us) and making a to do list for the day. After this I feel alive, awake and ready to start my day. But when one morning you suddenly receive an email from your university announcing that campus is closed, graduation is postponed and your final lectures will take place online, you can’t help but feel anything except ready. Suddenly the plans already in the diary for day trips and taking that iconic dissertation photo fizzle out and instead you’re stuck indoors trying to establish a new work rhythm for your final university term.
The reason the abrupt ending to university has been so heartbreaking for many is because we weren’t ready. We weren’t ready to have to say goodbye to our friends, leave our university homes and (for some of us) never again attend a lecture. We hadn’t prepared ourselves to leave and so that choice being forced upon us left a deep sense of being unprepared and out of control.
But all this got me thinking; why do we expect to be ready? Perhaps it is because we are so used to being the ones who get to make the decisions or because we’re not used to an external or uncontrollable virus impacting our lives. As I was reflecting on this God reminded me of a verse in Matthew about the return of Jesus:
‘But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father...So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.’
When Jesus returns, we don’t get to say goodbye to our friends and tie up loose ends, or pack up our belongings for safe keeping. The Bible explicitly tells us that we can’t expect the hour that Jesus will return, but that does not mean we can’t be ready.
So for those of you who are graduates or at university, let me encourage you that perhaps university ending unexpectedly provides us with an incredible and unique opportunity to discover how we can be ready for the unexpected. What are the loose ends you wish you had tied up? The friends you wish you’d told how much you valued them. The people you hesitated to invite to your church or small group. The intentional time with Jesus you postponed to after exams when you ‘had less to do.’
Instead of looking back at these with heavy hearts, let’s choose to learn from the decisions of our pre-lockdown selves and discover how we can be ready for the unexpected.