What if your most heartfelt prayer was answered today? Would you be ready?
Before God does anything significant there is always a period of preparation. The dictionary says that ‘prepare’ means to ‘make something ready for use’. Everyday people prepare food before inviting diners to the table. Journalists prepare the day’s stories before the newspapers are printed. Children prepare for school.
Sometimes we have this strange idea about a magic God. Does God really need to prepare? Can’t he just wave a hand and declare it so?
Jesus told us to consider the birds and the flowers if we want to know how God works. Birds find a location and build a nest in preparation for the new life to hatch. Plants put down roots and send up leaves and shoots to prepare for flowers and fruit.
We see in the process of pregnancy that a new life is formed slowly over nine months, hidden in the womb, gradually changing the way the mother-to-be walks. And whatever it is, that we are ‘pregnant’ with in the Spirit, will change the way we ‘walk’ through life.
The conception of Jesus was preceded by the announcement of the angel to Mary. The ministry of Jesus was preceded by John the Baptist.
‘It is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’- ‘a voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’’ – Mark 1:2-3
John the Baptist appears and tells the people about the coming Messiah. Then, after being baptised, Jesus spends forty days in the desert in a period of quiet preparation.
I don’t know what breakthrough you are praying and hoping for right now but, before it happens, you can be sure there will be a period of preparation. Sometimes the period of preparation is something we do ourselves, to make ourselves ready.
More often, a situation arises that is beyond our control. It may make us feel very uncomfortable. If it is God’s preparation it will change us. He may even use a tragedy that happened to us. I don’t mean he planned and sent a tragedy – they happen of their own accord. I mean that when those things happen, sometimes God brings hope and life from the darkest events of our life.
An unwanted redundancy, may lead to the setting up of a successful business – something that we would never have done if we had kept our old job.
What the opening page of Mark’s gospel tells us is that unseen preparations are always a prelude to new things. And we don’t see Jesus pushing his cousin John out of the way to take centre stage. We see that happen naturally as Jesus allows the preparations in him and around him to be completed.
So embrace the preparation times. Don’t be in a hurry to discard the current season. Let yourself be prepared by God to step into your next season of life and your journey with Jesus.
‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.’ – Psalm 23:5