“But be on your guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day close down upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will overtake all who live on the face of the whole earth. But stay alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that must happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”Luke 21:34–35


What do you think of when you try to picture someone who has spent countless hours learning, preparing, practicing, and training? Do you think of Olympic athletes who worked to perfect their sport since they were in elementary school? Do you think of doctors who spend years in school, preparing to face the chaos of an emergency room with clarity and confidence? 


I think of my daughter, who at ten years old has become an accomplished swimmer. The hours she spends in the pool, the thousands of meters she swims each week, the workouts she does to strengthen her muscles, the individual lessons she’s taken to learn how to do the skills that scare her the most, all of it comes together to prepare her to compete at her swim meets. She has always been a strong swimmer, but without the intentional training, encouragement of her peers, and instruction of her coaches, she would be unable to meet, and often exceed, her potential. Each mock meet prepares her for what she will face in the future, each race against teammates helps her to know what to expect from other teams.


Why do we consider our faith anything less than an opportunity to train this way? Scripture encourages us to “run the race,” and, as someone who really, truly dislikes running, I know I would never enter a 5K without months of hard work and training. What if we started to view this instruction to be on guard and to stay alert as an opportunity for practice, coaching, and preparation?


Our Scripture today reminds us that all the things described leading to the return of Jesus must happen. We can’t avoid them. But we can prepare, not to escape the difficult things that life will bring, but to do our part in sharing the gospel with others so that they might share in our hope.


When everything feels like it’s falling apart, that is when we are to witness. That is when we can be the brightest light. Right now, today, at this moment,this is when we can start to train. We can dig deeper into God’s Word, prioritizing time with Him, serving those around us with love. We can share Jesus with the people God has put in our lives and pray for opportunities to offer hope to a hurting world. 


God promises to give us the words we need to declare the Good News to those around us. When everything feels like it’s falling apart, we are called to stand up, ready to receive the coming redemption. Now is the time to put in the work, to prepare, to strengthen our faith muscles so that we can face the world with hearts that are full of hope, not worry. Let’s get to work!


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Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine is the author of Holy Hustle, Quieting the Shout of Should, and the Holy Hustle Planner. She serves as the Communications and Online Director for her church and has a passion for using social media as a mission field to reach as many as possible for Christ. You can connect with Crystal online at crystalstine.me, get a sneak peek of her first books through several YouVersion reading plans, or find her on Instagram @crystalstine. Crystal lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter.

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