Ready or Not

“I’m here. I’m here. I’m here.”

The excitement could barely be contained in her small voice. This impish grandchild could hardly run fast enough to get into the house. Jumping up and down in our kitchen, she just kept repeating her mantra “I’m here” over and over again…as if we hadn’t noticed.

Her parents were taking the older children to a cartoon movie, and they didn’t think a 2-year-old would sit still or enjoy the film they had selected. So, she was being treated to an evening of spoiling instead.

Impatiently, she had waited all day.  If she could tell time, I’m sure she would have watched the clock like us. We had furiously finished our errands and quickly purchased the snacks and treats that only grandparents can get by with giving out freely. We still had bags of groceries on the counter when her parents pulled into the driveway.

Ready or not, she was here and ready to go.

“Ready or not..” That phrase is connected to so many memories.

  • While playing hide or seek as a child, when this phrase sounded, you had better be hidden or risk being found.
  • For sports, it meant game time had come, and there was no more time to run drills or practice.
  • Exam time meant the time for review had ended, and this grade would go down in the books.
  • College ended and, ready or not, now you work to pay bills.

And it continues. “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes________________ with a baby carriage.” Perhaps there isn’t a scarier “ready or not” than bringing a baby home. No matter how “prepared” you think you are, no child comes with instructions. Even with babysitting experience and working as a nurse…in OB of all places…I still remember the anxiety of “am I ready?” ringing in my ears.

“Ready or not” also includes some not-so-fun endeavors. Surgery or Illness. The death of loved one. Job loss. Divorce. The “Monday” a diet is supposed to start (or is that just me?) Etc.

“Ready or not” is an endless list of planned and unexpected events that unfold before us. Whether anticipated or not, it will happen. Some may pass us by if we don’t participate. The diet we wanted to start on Monday may become “next week.” And the weeks become months before we know it. The same with raising children. They will leave home some day, and we all will face our own ready or not. They begin their adult life, and we turn from the door to find an empty nest. Ready or not.

Scripture is full of “ready or not” stories.

  • Noah waited 120 years for the flood to start. Then things changed quickly.
  • Abraham and Sarah had a baby in their old age. Talk about a ready or not event. I realize age spans were longer, but they were clearly past childbearing according to Scripture. I know how tired I am after a weekend. Kudos to them.
  • Moses was called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt after 40 years on the backside of the desert. He thought he was ready at 40 when he defended his people and killed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. God knew he wasn’t yet ready. Then, when he believed he was settled, God knew he was ready for an adventure.
  • The prophets spoke of a deliverer to come for centuries. The clues added up to a picture that didn’t match what the Jewish nation pictured. Rather than a military leader to secure temporary release, God sent a baby to bring permanent freedom.
  • When the time was right, Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph – ready or not.
  • The disciples traveled with Jesus as he tried to teach and warn them of what was to come. He patiently explained the kingdom to them. He tried to tell them of his sacrificial death, but they didn’t get it.
  • Then, ready or not, He was crucified. They weren’t ready.
  • Three days later, just as he said, he was resurrected. They weren’t ready. Rather, they were hiding in grief and confusion. But in the days to come after his ascension and Pentecost – they were ready. Now it was the world facing a “ready or not” moment as they spread the gospel near and wide.

There is another “ready or not” promise yet to come. Jesus is returning. Matthew 24 outlines the culture that will happen at that time.  For most of my life, I have heard sermons and read about this event. Each person was sure the times were right because of the events of the day. But, the timing was not yet right.

I don’t know how much more time there is, but I know some things that will happen. Wars. Earthquakes. Famines. Persecution. Rampant sin. Tucked into Mt. 24:14 is the good news that the gospel will be told to the world in the midst of these events. By word and deed,  grace and mercy offer a soothing balm to the days ahead.

Then – one day – ready or not. Jesus returns. Perhaps he will also shout “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here” with great excitement.

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