Lights In The Distance
by Danny Tippit
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Itís Friday and we are heading up to see my parents. The weather outside is a faint mist, but when driving at 70 mph it can easily be mistaken for a moderate drizzle. My wife and I havenít been able to find a clear Christian radio station for a while so we settled for the only decent thing on the radio at this time of night, Delilah.
I am not driving, which should be obvious since you are reading what I am typing. But as I look up every now and then to make sure we are not in the middle of the road and that my custom-installed passenger side brake still works, I see in the faint mist up ahead dimly lit brake lights of a semi-truck that just recently passed us. Normally it would be difficult to make out what the lights were attached to in the soot black surroundings. However, I saw this behemoth of a tractor trailer burp right past us a few minutes before. (If I were driving nothing would have passed, but that is neither here nor there. Duh, Iím a guy.)
I began to ponder how this relates to me wanting to know the future. Well, I canít know the future, but then again yes I can, to a certain extent. Jesus told His disciples some future business that we would encounter as His followers, ďIíve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead.Ē Ė John 16:1. What does this tell me about the future? It says a lot. As a matter of fact if taken in the right perspective this verse is extremely profound. I talk with a lot of non-believers and though not all of them feel this way, the majority of them believe that Christians think they live the perfect, unchallenged, and peaceful life. I do believe that a small few Christians live very peaceful lives. These folks have learned how to hold onto the peace that surpasses all understanding. However, most of us still get wrapped up in the worldís attempt to fluster us, distract us, and get us down.
Because I saw the truck pass us I knew what was ahead should we decide to drive faster. But sometimes we see lights ahead and we do not know if it is a car, a truck, a semi, etc. However, we do know that it is a vehicle because we recognize tail lights when we see them. We can predict that we are going to eventually see a vehicle ahead of us if we drive long enough. Because of being able to predict this we know to drive more careful and more aware. We can prepare the best we can for what is ahead. This doesnít mean that we wonít crash and run into serious trouble, but it does help to know ahead of time to prepare for the worst.
Jesus was getting this point across to His disciples and to us. We might not be able to recognize the trouble ahead of us. We might not even see it right now, but we will see it and it will come. It is inevitable. So what can we do about it? We can prepare ourselves for it. How do you prepare yourself for trouble? We know we canít avoid every trouble that comes our way. We can avoid some accidents on the road ahead, but not all of them. Sometimes we are the accident. Jesusí warning is really a heed to prepare for trouble, to prepare our hearts.
Preparing for trouble requires us to get our hearts and minds into shape through prayer and petition. We must be steadfast in Godís word. We must be trained up in Godís strength. We must be accustomed to suiting up with Godís armor on a daily basis. We must be growing in the fruit of the Spirit diligently and consistently. Doing all of these things will steady us through the storms, the troubles, the hard times, the trials and tribulations. The peace that surpasses all understanding will sustain us. The joy of the Lord will prop us up. Godly wisdom will direct us while making crucial decisions during these turbulent seasons.
So we know trouble is coming. Prepare now as one readying for an ensuing hurricane and the trouble wonít seem so troubling, the pain wonít seem so painful. All because you abided by the advice of Your Lord and prepared for the difficulties that are sure to come.
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