The weekend we came to Florida to consider our move here, we stayed at an Embassy Suites Hotel and met a realtor whom we’d chosen over the Internet to show us around. She spent that first day driving us around different parts of town, pointing out housing areas that met our general criteria, the main thoroughfares and the schools, and when we arrived back to the hotel that evening, she left us with a packet of newcomer info for a little light reading.

I went about my usual bedtime routine, which usually always involves a hot bath, and as I relaxed in the warmth of the tub, I perused the material she’d given us.  At first, I couldn’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to move to the area, what with the beaches nearby and the beautiful weather that claims most of the months in the year.  However, I tensed up a little as I kept reading something that went kind of like this:
  • Alligators are part of our natural landscape.  They have a natural fear of man, but should be treated with respect and certainly not provoked, as they will attack. However, man and alligator can live in harmony.
  • Our state is called the “lightning capital of the world”.  The odds of getting struck by lightning are akin to that of winning the lottery, but if you live in Florida you increase your odds! 
  • Along with the joys of living on the Gulf, comes the very real threat of accidental drownings.  Please practice responsible ocean enjoyment.
  • Hurricanes are part of ocean living. Preparedness is key!  During hurricane season, please have your evacuation plan in place and a store of hurricane survival items, and always stay tuned to local broadcasting for the latest in home and self-protection.
I thought, “Good heavens! You’d think she’d want to give us info on the positive stuff if she’s looking to make a commission!”  
And yet, here we are!
The hurricane preparedness spiel has been pouring forth from every mode of public broadcasting possible, as Tropical Storm Fay has been working her way up to Florida from Cuba.  We’ve looked at no less than 500 computer models of her trajectory and projected path. We’ve had up-to-the-minute coverage of businesses strapping their roofs down and boarding their windows.  My trip to the grocery store yesterday afforded me the opportunity to buy up gallons and gallons of drinking water, packs of batteries for my transistor radio and flashlights, and canned goods that require no cooking or refrigeration. The schools, which had only been open one day, put in their cancellations for today in preparation.  Governments offices closed and shelters were put in place.  I even could’ve made a reservation for my dog at the pet shelter. After the effects of being ill-prepared in 2004 and 2005, Florida’s governor called a “state of emergency” ahead of time, to make sure that in the event that Fay turned a little more ferocious, we would all be ready.
I woke this morning, listening to the latest updates and about all the preparations that have been put into place.  It made me think of a scripture:
You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come 
at an hour when you do not expect him.
Luke 12:40 (NIV)

Are we ready? Are our hearts prepared to welcome Christ when He comes back for us? I’m convicted when I think about this, because while I KNOW, beyond the shadow of a doubt*, that I am saved and have a home in heaven waiting for me, I also know that I’m not always acting in a way in which I would be proud to have Christ suddenly show up and find me!  Can I get a witness??  I’m reminded, yet again, that I need to work on preparing my heart with the proper stores of “true, noble and right”, of “kindness, gentleness and self-control”. (Phil. 4:8/Gal. 5:22).
I’m also convicted at not always being prepared in another way:
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)
There are so many that have no idea what’s coming, so WE have to be ready to tell them!  We need to be prepared with an answer to give them, when our prepared hearts, living out loud by example, cause them to ask!  I’ll be honest with you: I’m pretty good at writing my answer out, but I’m not as good at telling it in person.  I need to work on this and be prepared to get the Word out!  We are God’s “public broadcasting system”, are we not?  Is our world not in a “state of emergency”?  
My fridge is full of water and my pantry filled with food stuffs suitable to sustain us through whatever Fay brings our way, but I’m humbled by the lack of preparation in my heart.  You, too?  Won’t you pray with me?
Sweet Lord, 

Forgive me for letting the heart that You cleaned and saved fall into a state of disarray.  Help me straighten it up and throw out the stuff that would embarrass me if You came back today.  The very stuff that could cause someone who doesn’t know You to miss You altogether because I wasn’t living in such a way to cause them to ask a question.  I so want to live, ready, EXPECTANT, for Your return, and know that I’ve done all I could to help others live the same way.


*You can know where you are going to spend eternity, beyond the shadow of doubt, too. Wondering how? Just email me and I’ll tell you!