So for the past three days I have been tucked away in the suburbs of Atlanta isolated by a snow storm that struck earlier this week. A few years ago I spent a year serving in Saint Michael Minnesota, where as you can imagine it snowed a great deal. Unlike Atlanta, it was a usual occurrence that never really interrupted the rhythm of life the way the snowy weather has here. I would say the one main difference between the responses to snow up north and here in Atlanta all lies in the preparations made before hand.
In Minnesota they are almost always ready for winter weather to creep in and dump a couple feet of snow on their homes and roads. I remember the first big snow fall, during my year of mission, was at the beginning of December in Fall of 2007. Within hours, streets were cleared by the seemingly endless snow plows, and roads were salted by later that evening. They expected the larger snow fall, and took the steps needed to be prepared.
We hear in the Gospel of Matthew the parable of the thief. Jesus tells his listeners that “if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake.” So often I fall asleep, and do not stay prepared for the wintery storms that may lie ahead. When I fail to take the time, especially through prayer, to keep my heart ready for what is to come I stumble and am caught off guard by the unexpected, much like Atlanta has been by this storm.
Throughout the parable, Jesus is trying to emphasize the point of being prepared and awake. He continues by saying “you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” In the past, when I have read this passage I found myself thinking of the second coming, but I realize more and more it is a call to be attentive to Jesus coming into my life in all ways at all times.
As I take time to be faithful to daily prayer, I am prepared and ready for the storms and trials that the Lord allows to make me holy. The more I strive to spiritually ‘stay awake’ the easier it is for me to follow the Lord and not be surprised at the events and circumstances that so often arise which could easily make me stumble.
Being able to make it through a storm or a greater than expected snow fall in this case, is all about preparation. I pray that all those stuck in their homes this week can be reminded of our need to spiritually stay awake for we do not know what is to come.