Good Morning!!   Do you ever feel the rain of life just pelting you?  If you live near Spokane you have felt the rain in a very literal sense these past few days.  Sometimes our lives seem to mimic the weather, don’t they?  There are moments when life is SO beautiful.  The sun is shining on you, there are flowers blooming everywhere, and it is a time of new growth!  Then there are times of change, moments when life seems cold, and moments when you feel as if you are caught in a massive downpour.  It is interesting to me that we have no doubt that we will experience a variance of weather physically.  We know we will have rainy seasons, and times where the storms light up the sky, however, we always seem to be caught off guard when we have to endure an emotional or spiritual storm.  We almost seem to wonder, “Where did that come from?”  “Why in the world do I have to go through this?”  We feel like this shouldn’t be happening and yet one thing Jesus promised us is that we WILL face trials, hardships, and storms in this world!  He reminds us of this quite frequently so that we will NOT be caught off guard, but we may be Prepared!! 

Recently we had a sport court built in our back yard.  It was amazing to watch this whole process, and believe me it was a process!  There was SO much preparation that had to be done in order to have a foundation that we could stand on.  They first had to dig out the ground that was already there.  They had to remove the old dirt to make room for all the new gravel they were bringing in.  They then had to begin leveling out that gravel.  They had to make sure there were no holes or gaps, but that is was all even.  Then the concrete was poured.  Once this was finally done, they set about evening out the wet concrete.  They worked and worked at this part until every bump and blemish was perfected and the whole area was smooth.  They then began the finish work of cutting in the lines that would be needed for expansion.  They covered it for protection as it was drying.  They made sure we knew that the concrete would have to go through a curing process that would take several days.  They told us this time of curing was incredibly important in order to make this foundation strong enough to endure the hard hits it would take.  We found out the incredible importance of the PREPARATION that is needed BEFORE the foundation is firm enough to stand on and BEFORE it is strong enough to endure the rain!  That last part was important because looking at the forecast they knew rain was coming and they were adamant about the preparation that had to happen BEFORE hand!

This reminded me of something I had been chewing on in preparation for Easter!  I had been thinking back to Jesus’ time in the garden before His arrest and crucifixion.  I was remembering how Jesus chose to spend that whole night, before the cross, in Prayer!!  He had asked Peter, James, and John to do the same, but they just couldn’t stay awake!  There is such an incredible lesson to be learned from the ONE we follow.  Jesus knew He was about to experience the greatest storm of His physical life and what He did before this moment should speak volumes to us.  He PREPARED!!  He did what He always did to ready Himself.  He Prayed!  He spent time with God!  He started this when He was 12 years old, preparing for a life of ministry.  He went to His Father’s house and sat under the teachers.  He learned, discussed, and even taught the Word of God.  As His ministry began, He went off by Himself and fasted and prayed for 40 days.  He Meditated on and recited the Word of God.  He would continue to go off by Himself to pray and prepare all throughout His ministry. This is why when He and His disciples got into the boat before they faced the storm in Mark 5 He was Prepared.  I want us to listen to what is said in Mark 5:36.   “Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, JUST AS HE WAS, in the boat.”  Jesus had been ministering, teaching, and healing and He was exhausted!  We know this because He immediately fell asleep on the boat.  This is important for us to remember.  Storms will hit us JUST AS WE ARE!!  They often will give us no warning and they won’t wait for us to get ourselves all together.  They just come. The disciples also experienced the storm Just As They Were and we see a different response from them than we see from Jesus!  They were panicked, terrified, and angry!  They had NO Faith, and ALL Fear!  Jesus, however, was Prepared for the storm.  He was calm, peaceful, full of FAITH, and without ANY FEAR!   My husband learned something very valuable in his training for work.  He was taught that when a hard situation arises, or disaster strikes, we should NOT think that we will RISE to the occasion at that moment, because the truth is we will FALL back to our level of training!!  I have found this to be so very true!!  We will always fall back to whatever our level of preparation and training is that we have in ChristThat is why we must spend time allowing our faith to cure like the concrete.  We must spend time in preparation so that when storms hit we have a solid foundation to stand on!  When Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him to Pray before His death and He found them sleeping, He said to them in Matthew 26:41, “Watch and Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak!”   He was telling them how to prepare!  He knew a storm was coming and that they would face temptation.  They would be tempted to fight back against the guards, they would be tempted to run away and hide, they would be tempted to deny ever knowing Jesus, and because of this, He reminded them that they needed to spend time in preparation because their flesh was weak.  What temptations and storms do we face?  Preparing ourselves by prayer and fasting, studying and memorizing the Word of God, spending time with other believers, and worshiping together is what will help our areas of weakness become strong and solid!  We often tell our son that he should not wait until he is in the moment of temptation or hardship to try and stand firm while lifting up a 200 pound burden.  He needs to spend time preparing before hand, so that when these moments come he is ready and strong enough to stand because his muscles have been developed in such a way that he can pick up that burden with ease and drop it at the feet of Jesus!  Jesus has shown us the importance of taking time to ready ourselves and to strengthen our faith.  We must not forget that God has given us ways to do just that.  We are instructed to spend time hiding God’s word in our hearts so that we will not sin against Him.  We are to Pray without Ceasing!  We are to not neglect meeting together, but we are to stir each other up and encourage each other.  We are to grow in our faith!  The reminder we get from looking closely at the life of our Savior, our King, our Lord and our Captain, is that it is important to spend time WITH HIM in PREPARATION!  Let us take that seriously so that when hard times come, as we know they will, we will be able to stand firm on the foundation of our faith!  We know that storms will come to us just as we are and my prayer is that the state we are in when storms come is one in which we are prepared!  Let’s spend time with Jesus allowing Him to make us ready for what lies ahead!  Ready to Forgive, Ready to be kind, Ready to be Truthful, Ready to speak out for Christ, Ready to say NO to sin, Ready to Overcome Fear with Faith, and Ready for the return of our King!!

“Therefore you must BE Ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour your do not expect.” – Mt. 24:44

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, Always Being Prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you!” – 1 Peter 3:15

Ashley Possin