I wish we’d been ready … {Day 16 of 40 Days of Lent}

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

(Matthew 25:1-13 ESV)

But, I’m supposed to be in there!

My desperate cry was answered with the slam of a door.

I heard the other girls – four of them – crying, weeping around me. How could we have been so stupid?

The night had started out well enough. No, the night had started perfectly. There were ten of us. We were waiting for the bridegroom to come. We were laughing and talking. I’m not sure any of us thought he would be so very late in coming.

We chatted for a long time. Eventually, the chatter became yawns. The yawns became the deep breathing of slumber.

Then, a shout. “He’s coming! He’s coming!”

We all jumped up to trim out lamps. They were starting to die out since so much time had passed. I had forgotten to bring extra oil! I panicked and looked around. I wasn’t the only one. I could see the same panic cross the faces of other girls as they searched furiously among their bags.

We asked the other girls if we could use some of their oil. They refused. Oh, I was angry about it at first, but now, sitting here in the dark, I can’t blame them. If they had given us any of the oil, they would have run out, too.

We had no choice but to take our dying lamps and run to the oil dealer. It wasn’t far away, but it was midnight. It took an eternity for him to come to the door – and he was none too pleased when he opened the door.

He understood our situation and sold us some oil. What else could he do? I’m sure we must have dragged him out of bed with our knocking and yelling.

We knew where the bridegroom lived. We hoped we could make it there before the wedding celebration began.

We were close.

Oh, so close.

But the door was closed. No amount of pleading was going to convince anyone to open it.

We were alone in the dark listening to the sounds of the party inside.

I wish we’d been ready …

***

Five women were found ready. They were living in the light. They were prepared to meet the bridegroom. They stayed prepared even though his arrival seemed to them to be delayed. His arrival, though, was perfectly timed in his part. He came when all was ready and invited them to share in the celebration.

Five women weren’t ready. They were living on the edge of darkness. They thought their meager preparations would carry them through to his arrival. But, his arrival seemed to them to to be delayed. Still, it was perfectly timed on his part. He came when all was ready, but these five women weren’t waiting and were not available to answer his invitation.

What will it be like for you when Christ returns? Are you living in readiness for his coming? This doesn’t mean that you’re sitting around staring at the sky for the sign of an angel blasting a trumpet. It means that you’re taking care of the important things of life – the important things that are part of living in the light of the gospel of Christ.

I hope we’ll be ready …

***

These (hopefully) daily devotions for Lent have turned into daily devotions for March, which is technically not Lent but is the month leading up to Easter. They are based on the 40 Days of Lent reading plan available at YouVersion. The plan was graciously provided to YouVersion by Journey Church.

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