The Bible tells us to be prepared.
We can’t be complacent in our lives, watching it go by, sitting idly and dreaming empty dreams. We can’t work out our salvation, that was a gift given to us, paid at the highest price but we can work to be light, salt and testimonies for the Glory of God so that others can also be saved.
The next verses are passages from the Bible reminding us about our future. The last passage will be the Parable of the 10 Bridesmaids, which I think will help emphasise the latest lesson I have learned in my walk with Jesus.
Revelation 16:15 (ESV)
15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!”)
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 (ESV)
5 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[a] you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
2 Peter 3:10 (ESV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[a] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[b]
Matthew 25:1-13 (NLT)
Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids
25 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids[a] who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, 4 but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. 5 When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
7 “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
9 “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”
I’m going to Kenya. I’ve declared it and claimed it and believe it.
Except, technically, I can’t legally go to Kenya at the moment. There have been some issues with my passport and it still hasn’t been amended.
The whole tragic story comes down to one simple truth. I was not prepared.
I legally changed my name by Deep Poll four years ago and changed all my documents within the month except my passport. Everything was such a smooth process that I figured that my passport would be too and seeing as I am still finding my feet financially, I didn’t think I’ll need my passport urgently.
I also figured I could always sort it out later. Later became four years later (our now) and my friend blessed me with the opportunity to go to Kenya with her. I figured, it’s fine from August to October, I’ll get my passport back in plenty of time.
Not so. They sent me the first letter. Because I have legally changed my name, they wanted more evidence/documents to show that I have been using my name. I sent the information on and more. They mailed me back straight away and I missed the letter. One month on and not realising the letter was sitting in my pile of mail, I started to panic. Why haven’t I heard anything? They sent me another letter.
Because I am classified as having duel citizenship, I will also need to provide my Colombian passport. No problem. Sent.
Yes, problem. My Colombian passport is in my original name. I can’t change my British passport if my Colombian passport doesn’t reflect the changes I need to update.
You may think that’s a stupid mistake to make. You’ll be right. You can also think, it’s common sense. You’ll be right too. It is common sense, now that I that I am confronted with it. I know it makes sense in their legalistic requirements however, it wasn’t something that I thought about when I started the process because ironically, I don’t spend time thinking about the process of how to falsify a passport or steal someone else’s identity.
I consider myself a British Citizen and thus it is my British Passport that I will use. That’s my common sense.
There is of course, a bigger problem. I am two weeks away from having to board a plane to Kenya and I can’t get a letter from the Consulate to show my change of name in my Colombian passport, I can’t change my Colombian passport without that letter or get a letter proving my surrender of my Colombian citizenship without an appointment and appointments are not available until November.
So why am I in this predicament? Because I was simple minded and complaisant. Yes, I do hold a Colombian passport but 1. it’s expired and 2. I wasn’t planning on ever using it or updating it because in my head, when I vowed to be a British citizen, I meant I would be a British citizen. Being a Colombian citizen was irrelevant because I live and contribute to Britain. Not Colombia.
In hindsight, if I’d been more vigilant with my letters, I could have potentially have sorted this out a month ago or at least been partially through the process with a likelihood of a better outcome. Better yet, if only I knew that the Colombian passport was relevant, I would have sorted it out back in August or even before so that when the inevitable time of travel came, I didn’t have to go through this…
What’s my option now? My option hasn’t changed. I’m still trusting in God because only He can make my miracles into a reality.
One of the reason I’m sharing this event with you is because it’s real and we live in very real lives with very real problems but also because it doesn’t stop at this fallible and passing world. These events and circumstances can have eternal consequences.
If my passport doesn’t come through, the worst that can happen is that I miss my flight, my friend will continue on her trip as planned and I will start saving up to pay her back for the flight. I miss out on an amazing experience, feel heartbroken for a few months and then life will go on, with a lesson learned.
What are the consequences of living an idle life, sitting on the fence, being politically correct and not wanting to offend anyone with our faith?
What are the consequences of keeping Jesus to ourselves and denying anyone else the opportunity to experience the love, grace, mercy and acceptance of our everlasting Father?
I don’t really want to find out. I don’t want to come to my Father’s feet, ashamed and heartbroken because I wasn’t proactive enough to at the very least, show love and compassion to my neighbour; let them know that they matter and their lives matter. They matter so much Jesus shed His blood for them.
My lesson learned? Be prepared regardless of how that looks like. It doesn’t have to be pretty or make sense. God will be the ultimate judge of how you followed through with what He gave you to share with the world.
Don’t stop at you.