“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:2
I hope your night last night was more restful than mine.
After finishing the book I was reading, I turned out my light and went to sleep. Only to be awoken, two short hours later, but the heart-stopping shriek of my smoke detector. After I landed on my bed, having levitated a few inches in the air, I’m sure, I realized that it was the, “Hey, you need a new battery” screech, not the, “Hey, your house is burning down,” one. Which was good news, but not good enough.
Foolishly, though, I decided that I had several more hours before it would go off again, so I allowed myself to go back to sleep. No dice. At three, the alarm sounded again, this time launching me completely out of bed. Since I couldn’t quite tell where the sound was coming from (there are three smoke detectors very close together in my house) and since it was so loud, I assumed it was the detector in my room. So I went tumbling down the stairs (literally – I missed a few near the bottom), walked barefoot into my garage, and hauled the ladder back up the stairs. While I was climbing up the ladder, I was praying intelligent things like, “If I fall, please help me fall toward the bed.” You see, my ceiling is vaulted and I’m not very tall. So here it is, three o’clock in the morning, and I’m trying to balance on the top of a six-foot ladder to reach an eleven-foot ceiling, in order to change the battery in my stupid smoke detector.
Battery successful changed, ladder put in the hallway, back to sleep. Wrong again. Twenty minutes later, the shrill sound came again. I used my last nine-volt battery to change the one in the hallway, and fell back into bed. I was sure that I had gotten the culprit this time, but, to paraphrase the knight from Indiana Jones, I had chosen poorly. Fifteen minutes later, I was up to the same awful, inescapable sound again, finally knowing which detector the racket was coming from.
However, I was also out of batteries, so I did the only thing I could: I pulled the entire thing apart, put it outside on my front porch and went back to sleep for the few precious hours I had left.
Now, today I have been to the store and bought eight more nine-volt batteries. Today I am prepared. I have replaced all the batteries in every smoke detector in my house, including the one in my basement. I have also put on my calendar in June 2012 to change all the batteries, so I don’t have a repeat of this scenario next year.
Yesterday, I was not prepared for the middle-of-the-night alarm going off. Just as some people won’t be prepared for Jesus’ return. As this verse in Thessalonians tells us, it will be sudden and unexpected – you don’t plan for a thief in the night or to be awoken suddenly by alarms ringing. But it happens just the same. The big difference is that upon Christ’s return, there won’t be a second chance to be prepared. I can buy batteries and mark my calendar, but you can’t run out and tell Jesus to go back and come again, since you weren’t ready.
So rather than put it off, be sure you’re ready to meet Jesus today. That way you will know you are ready for the unexpected return our Lord has promised us.