November 29: Abundance of Caution: Mark 13:33
Text: And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
When my dad was dying from cancer, I rode back to the house with my mom across Columbus. I remarked at how well I thought she was doing well in spite of everything. I told her I couldn’t remember her driving on the interstate. She laughed and added that was probably because she and Dad had been “blotto” most of the time.
At the time of this conversation, I was in a CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) program in Kansas City. I had been doing a lot of reading on children of alcoholics. The descriptions lined up with many of my behaviors, especially my hyper vigilance: always watching for the other shoe to drop, and being ready for some emotional explosion or melt down.
Always ready. On guard. Alert! Anticipate and expect the worst.
When began my faith journey as a freshman in high school, I gravitated toward these kinds of verses of warning. They had a familiar feel. I could handle this.
My struggle came when I had to understand and incorporate grace. The tension between what I understood as be alert and relax was confusing and unsettling. How would I make it work?
As life has unfolded, I have learned that it’s just as easy to choose to anticipate the positive as it is the negative. After all, I know well, that we will get what we look for.
So I now longer read these verses with the lenses of doom and gloom. I will be ready, not out of fear, but out of an expectation for God to bring good out of whatever I face.