“Growing up on the farm,” Stan began one morning, “my dad was not a harsh person, but he certainly was real adamant about punctuality. He taught me about being ready.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“Well,” Stan replied, “as I’ve told you before, the farm was quite a distance from the nearest town where we would buy groceries, go shopping for other stuff, see movies, go to the doctor, and all of those sorts of things.”
“So if you had a doctor appointment,” I commented, “it would take you a while to get there and you would have to leave in plenty of time.”
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “And when dad said he would be leaving at a certain time, that’s when he left.”
“Whether or not you were ready?” I asked.
“Exactly,” Stan said. “He would get in the car or his pick-up truck and leave, whether or not we were with him. But only once did he leave without me because I wasn’t ready. Once was all it took for me to know I needed to be ready the next time!”
Continuing, he added, “My heavenly Father acts a lot the same way. If I’m not ready, He is apt to leave without me.”
“And He does it for the same reason, to teach me to be ready the next time.”
“What kind of leaving are you talking about?” I asked.
“Good question,” Stan said. “Just to be clear, once I made the decision to accept by faith God’s free and gracious gift of life eternally with Him, God doesn’t leave me in the sense of forsaking me, However, I do think that He certainly will leave me in the sense of going where He’s going, whether or not I’m with Him.”
“You got an example of that?” I asked.
“How about growing in an ever-deepening personal relationship before I step into eternity?” Stan asked.
“In what way?”
“As you will remember,” Stan replied, “Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and God the Father.”
“As contrasted to life eternally with God when it’s time,” I commented.
“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Through the Holy Spirit, I will be taken as deep as I am willing to go in a personal relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Son, but an ever-deepening relationship will not be forced on me. It’s kind of like they, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, will leave me where I am if I’m not ready to go with them.”
“And,” I replied, “if people are not ready to go, they will miss out, and it’s their loss. Is that a fair statement?”
“Definitely a fair statement,” Stan said, “and I can tell you it’s nothing I want to happen. That’s why I try always to be ready for whatever God has for me, remembering that if I’m ready, I don’t have to get ready!”
Bible verses to consider:
For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12.
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6.
Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for the free and gracious provision of life with you eternally that I could accept by faith. Thank you, too, for the gift of knowing you and Jesus in an ever-deepening personal relationship on this side of eternity. I confess that too often I choose not to be ready to go with you into that ever-closer relationship. I know that my failure to be ready for what you have for me is my loss. Please help me in following every step of your lead into the deepest possible relationship. Help me to be ready for all you have for me. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Are you ready to step into eternity in the sense that you know you are going to be in God’s eternal presence? If no, why? What is keeping you from being ready for that step? If you have the assurance of salvation and redemption because you have accepted by faith God’s free and gracious provision, how about on this side of eternity? Are you consistently ready to pursue and ever-deepening personal relationship with God in Christ? If no, what would it take for that to happen? Is that what you would like? Why or why not?