The Church in the West, what are we like? I see the image of a boat filled with many different people, engaged in so much activity.
Some contentedly fish from the sides of the boat, enjoying the sultry evening breezes. Some mend the nets and paint the sides of the boat. Some plot their course. Some sunbathe, catching the fading gleams and the residual warmth. Some party below decks. Others run the engines, cook the food, serve. Some welcome new people on the boat and provide them a place. Some slumber in their hammocks. So many different types of people… Still for so many, the focus remains within the boat, on what is familiar and comfortable. Many have glanced at the sky and the water, perceiving the change in the horizon, but in discomfort soon turn back to their tasks.
And there are some that see – they can see the swells rolling in, the clouds gathering, and they know what is to come and is now here. Some of those still prevaricate, concentrating on other things. Some dismiss the storm, mighty in their own imagination and strong in the tower of their own mind. Other quietly prepare, battening down the hatches, breaking out the foul weather gear. And yet some seek to make others aware of the storm brewing, trying to wake those who slumber and encouraging the crew and passengers of the boat to look beyond the hull of their own experience….
All of this time, our Lord calls to us – Prepare! See the times you are entering? Do I not care about you as a husband cares for his bride? Are you not the Apple of my Eye? I eagerly desire for you to be ready, prepared, holy, to stand firm in the times to come.
Yes, the wind will rise and the waves roll in. I have seen it, and I am the master of both. Both persecutions and revival will come. You will be despised, rejected and hated for bearing My name – the great and good will spurn you and you will be left destitute and homeless. Yet remember, you will never be alone. And you will rescue the least of these, the weak, powerless, the little regarded, those I have loved since the foundation of the world.
Are you yet afraid, considering that you will undergo many trials? Never forget – I am not absent – I am in the boat with you. I know this storm intimately. It did not overcome Me then, it will not now. The stormbringers – they do not hate you so much as they hate Me. They did not overcome Me before, and will not now.
My Church, you are going to Prepare one way or the other. Either you will Prepare to endure the coming storm, or you will Prepare to surrender. There will be no middle way. All will come to the decision point – to walk the path I trod, or to turn away.
My Church, I call you, you whom I love. I desire none to perish, none to walk away into the night. I desire you to be ready. Set yourself into the path of this storm, choose the Way that will lead you to lose every worldly trapping, and to gain an inheritance imperishable, as one who follows in my footsteps and also overcomes!