Shortly after I became a follower of Christ, I had this unimaginable urgency to become prepared. During devotions, worship, Sunday school, morning service, and Wednesday service, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to become prepared. At the time I wasn’t sure what that exactly meant, and when I talked to my small group of trusted mature Christians they told me to keep seeking a more specific answer from the Lord.
That wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know exactly what I was preparing for, so I could prepare properly. Was I preparing for ministry? preparing for more children? preparing for financial hardship? I just wanted to know, so I could actually do the right kind of preparation.
God never told me, so I started reading my Word. 2 Timothy 4:2 tells us to “be prepared in season and out of season,” so I figured if God had the answers to every problem, then I needed to know the answers in order to be prepared for the problem. I dug into my Bible study, and over the last twenty years, I have filled up more notebooks than I can count.
What studying the Bible did for me is show me that Jesus can be trusted, the Holy Spirit will direct in the moment, and God loves me more than I can fathom.
When faced with troubling times, I could rely on what I knew of God through what I had read in the Bible. When finding out we couldn’t have children, I could rely on Psalm 37:4 which says that if I “delight myself in Lord, He will give me the desires of my heart.” So that is what I did. I delighted in Him. I gave myself totally to Him, and He directed my husband and I to an adoption agency that was perfect for us. Through adoption, two beautiful children were added to our family. It took nine years, but He was faithful.
The Holy Spirit directed us in the moment.
When my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I meditated on Philippians 4:6-8 for six straight months. Whenever I felt “anxious about anything,” I poured out my heart to Jesus in prayer, making sure I thanked him for all the wonderful things about my mother and vocalizing my requests, and without fail God’s peace, which I cannot explain, calmed the anxious voices in my head and the nervous flutters in my stomach, setting my heart and mind under His protective care. Then I set out not only to think on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – excellent and praiseworthy,” but to speak about them also.
My mother passed away, but I knew I was going to be okay. God loves me more than I can fathom.
When we found enlarged lymph nodes in my son’s neck, I prayed Matthew 18:18 over him like I was going into battle. I was binding sickness and decease, and in its place I was releasing health wellness. I reminded myself hourly that “God did not give [me] a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Over time and while monitored by his pediatrician, the lymph nodes decreased to normal size.
Jesus can be trusted. The Holy Spirit directs in the moment. God loves me more than I can fathom.
Daily reading and mediation of scripture, routine and purposeful memorization of scripture, and application of that scripture to my daily walk prepared me for those hard times. Each troubling time taught me to rely on the truth of Jesus which prepared me for the next troubling time. It taught me how to persevere. It built my character.
The strength that I now find in my relationship with the Lord was prepared over time. All of that preparation allows me to walk through my current trial, the one that is shaking my marriage to its core.
Which brings me full circle. Twenty years ago, the Lord told me to prepare because the enemy of my soul “comes to steal and kill and destroy.” He is trying to get me to give up on God, give up on Jesus, and stop listening to the Holy Spirit. Had I not dug into the Word of God, I would have given up. Because I did dig, and memorize, and persevere, I know that Jesus came to “give me life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10).
I am prepared.