I have heard this saying countless times: “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” I hear it most when churches are looking for volunteers and want to battle against the "I don’t feel capable/suitable/prepared do to that” excuse. And I have to say I don’t disagree. If God calls you to do something, get going. But what if the thing you are called to do takes a lot of preparation?
My husband, Joel, and I feel called to serve God abroad. While we were in college, we had the opportunity to travel to Ghana for two months with 13 friends and get a feel for what that would be like. We have wanted to get back ever since. We have friends who since finishing college live all over the world serving God in various ways. And while they didn’t just pack up and go, they got prepared a lot quicker than us. I have to admit that we feel a sense of jealousy as we get their post cards and read their blogs highlighting the things they are doing. We are so proud of their work, but have that itch of wishing we were there, too.
But Joel and I are waiting, waiting because the service that God has called us to takes a lot of preparation. Joel is preparing to be a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician; that takes 10 years! 10 years of waiting to be prepared! I am working on my PhD in bioengineering with an emphasis in prosthetics so I can teach others how to best use these restorative devices. As anyone who has chased getting to add those fancy letters after their name can tell you, it takes a long time, too.
It is easy to feel unfulfilled during the waiting, to feel a sense of inaction when the days and weeks don’t feel like they are getting you closer to your ultimate goal. It is easy to focus on the end of the tunnel and all the waiting left to get there and forget to appreciate the preparation. But the waiting serves a purpose. We need to be prepared.
I think Advent serves as a great reminder to appreciate and even enjoy the preparation. I love preparing for Christmas, getting out the tree, buying presents, placing the Christmas cards on the fridge. We are waiting for this big day to celebrate and rejoice but everything we do to prepare can make that day a little better, a little brighter, and a little more joyous.
But Advent isn’t just a time to prepare our homes for friends and family but to also prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Christmas Day can be a whirlwind of family and food; it can come and go without recognizing the birth of Christ. If we don’t use the time of waiting Advent brings to prepare our hearts, it is hard to expect to be ready to remember Him come Christmas Day. The waiting gives us time to prepare and the preparation makes the end result better.
I try to remember that as we continue to wait to be prepared. Every day that we study and learn something new is one more problem we will be better able to solve when the time comes. The only way for us to serve God well in our calling is to be prepared, so we should find the joy in the waiting, knowing that someone’s life will be all the more blessed because we made sure to be prepared.
We have all had a time of waiting to be prepared...to finish school, to learn a skill, to prepare our hearts. Let's not get dragged down in the waiting but find joy in the preparation. God has called us all to prepare and we and those we serve will be all the more blessed because of it.