“Go to the ant… consider her ways… Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest” (Proverbs 6:6-8) The hardest part of any endeavor is preparation. It doesn’t matter if it is sports, business, politics or ministry, taking the time and learning the discipline of the task at hand is usually much harder than the thing itself. On the other hand, the lack of preparation is easy, and sad to say, chosen by most.
Jesus calls believers to be disciples. That is another way of saying that God desires for us to be disciplined followers of the one we call Lord. There are no shortcuts or buyouts, no easy paths or cushioned roads. Like a football player who has lazily cruised through practice only to find himself thrust into the game unprepared, we will become overwhelmed by the events of life we face if we fail to let God prepare us.
A historical account of Harry Truman’s rise to the Presidency will illustrate this. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed away in Warm Springs, Georgia, word was telegraphed back to Washington to inform the first lady and other leaders before making the news public. Harry Truman, who was Roosevelt’s Vice President, was summoned to the White House to meet Eleanor Roosevelt. In those days, the President and Vice President did not have a close relationship with each other.
Harry Truman knew the situation was monumental by the fact that it was late in the evening. Upon arriving at the White House he was ushered in to meet with Mrs. Roosevelt. Eleanor discussed the reason for the emergency meeting rather quickly. She said, “Harry, the President has died.” Truman recounted in his memoirs that he was stunned and did not know what to say. The gravity of the moment was overwhelming as tears begin to moisten his eyes. He looked at Eleanor with a stunned pause and finally gathered himself and said, “Mrs. Roosevelt, is there anything I can do for you?” After another long pause, Eleanor responded, “Is there anything we can do for you? You are the one in trouble now!” Years later, when discussing this historic moment, Truman said he was completely unprepared.
The thing about preparation is that it takes place during a time that seems so unfulfilling or unneeded. In Christ, the Lord uses life’s experiences to prepare us for future events. C.S. Lewis said, “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” We can either cast off the lessons of experience by ignoring them, run from them, or learn from them. For all men, whether believer or not, life is a classroom in which we have a choice to learn.
For believers, we embrace the challenges and learn from the experiences. We do not want to be like Harry Truman—unprepared. In all things, our Lord is equipping us, maturing us, and above all… preparing us!