Monday, May 4, 2009

Are You Ready?

It has been an interesting past few days. Last Wednesday I received a phone call, in the midst of an extended family drama unfolding, that my younger children’s school had been closed due to the Swine Flu. The only good thing about that news was that it stopped the drama and put that on the backburner, hopefully permanently.

At any rate, panic seemed to hit our city. We had two “probable” cases of Swine Flu, which has since been changed to H1N1 (yeah, that makes a world of difference!). Suddenly five public schools, one of which is our neighborhood school that my 4th and 6th graders attend, have been closed indefinitely. Thursday and Friday they were home. By Friday night I was starting to wonder if I’m the only one not being fed into what I believe is an unnecessary frenzy. As most times, I feel the media is stirring up the pot and causing more worries than are needed.

So then Friday the number of probable cases goes up to 27. Not looking so good now. I am wondering if my children will ever return to school. I am frustrated not having clearer answers and not feeling as convinced about the seriousness of the whole situation. By Saturday evening we now have 34 probable cases and 2 confirmed cases. The health commissioner indicates, however, that it appears to be a mild condition of the flu. So now I am wondering, is this really just the flu? Now we are being told to be prepared for the possibility of the whole school district being closed down.

Well as of yesterday, the entire school district isn’t closed, however, my children’s school will be closed for an entire week and there is the possibility it could be closed the following week, as well. It has really gotten me thinking about things—if something like the Swine Flu—oh excuse me, I mean the H1N1 flu can stir up such panic, what is going to happen when this world really gets hit with difficult times?

Our church has been going through a new sermon series called “Signs of the Times.” It has been a fascinating series. So far we have learned about the connection that Israel has to end times and what is going on in Europe today and how that plays into it all. Next week is the one I am really looking forward to, the Rapture. It has been an exciting series but it has also been incredibly eye opening. We are truly living in the last days! Is the Swine flu a part of this? I really don’t know but I do see how the world has begun to panic and fret…they have no idea what is yet to come.

So it gets me thinking about the day the trumpet sounds and we who are believers will be caught up with Jesus—I truly do believe that is going to happen very soon. In fact, I wonder if my children will ever experience life as adults—will they ever marry and have children? Or will Jesus come before then? I have heard many people talk about all that they want to do—all that they want to experience—all that they want for their families—they are not ready for the trumpet call because they still have things to do.

Would I like to see my children grow up and fulfill their dreams? Would I like to see them get married and give me grandchildren? I most certainly would. But do I desire that more than seeing Jesus? I think it’s a question we all need to ponder. Where are our priorities? Are they really where they need to be?

There is nothing wrong with having a dream, a desire or a want for something that is good. To see my oldest son become an airline pilot would thrill me. To see my children find mates that God has chosen for them excites me. To think about holding a grandchild someday touches my heart. But do I desire all of this more than I desire Jesus? If I would rather have all of that over the rapture, perhaps my priorities are not in order. Perhaps it has become more about me than about my God.

I see my church heading in a direction that is clearly focused on equipping us to make a difference in this world—for whatever time we have left, we need to make sure that others know about Jesus—because there will come a time, a day when it will be too late to let them know. We will be gone…who are we going to leave behind? As much good as we want for our children, will they be left behind because we were so busy pursuing other things in their lives that we neglected to point them to the way of the cross?

In the next year I hope to see my oldest son be able to fly solo and be prepared to go for his pilot’s license. But will my focus, my time, my energy be so caught up in that, that I neglect to point him toward his Creator? I would hope not! I think we are seeing that in this time, we need to put aside our will and our wants and ask God what He would have us focus on. Who needs to hear about Jesus? Who needs to be pointed to the way of the cross?

I was listening on my Ipod yesterday to this song and it really struck a nerve. I pray the lyrics really speak to your heart as well:

Life was filled with guns and war
And all of us got trampled on the floor
I wish we’d all been ready
The children died, the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish wed all been ready

There’s no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you’ve been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and turns her head he’s gone
I wish we’d all been ready
Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready

(repeat chorus)

The Father spoke, the demons dined
How could you have been so blind?

(repeat chorus 2x)

I hope we’ll all be ready
You’ve been left behind [3x]

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