It was dark. We lost our power. My friend touched a match to the fuel of her lantern and immediately we had light with which to face the coming darkness. How grateful I was to be invited to her cabin, knowing she would be prepared for all eventualities.
I am reminded of Jesus’ parable of the five foolish virgins and the five wise virgins of Matthew 25:1-13. All had lamps and all had fallen asleep. But the difference between the wise and the foolish lies in the fact that it is not enough to have a lamp—to profess Christianity—without the supply of oil, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
It is interesting to note that the five foolish virgins did have oil to start with, but they had let it run dry. That is like us today if we trust in a profession of faith made in the past, but have fallen asleep on it, letting our light grow dim, then out.
Each one of us has fallen asleep at some point in time. But the wise of this parable woke up, trimmed their lamps, filled them with oil, and as Jesus put it “… those who were ready and went in to the wed-ding with the Bridegroom.”
I wonder if what we are living and experiencing to-day indicates we are getting close to history’s dark-est hour—midnight. A time when perpetual wrong decisions could bring destruction to all humanity. This is a time when terrorism and crime abound and men find their hearts failing them for fear. Perhaps, as many are predicting, including scientists, we are facing the final act on history’s stage. If so, it is not a time to panic or hide from reality, but to rejoice, knowing full well God is in control. He has a plan for His people!
It is a time to “clean our chimneys” (confessing our sins), trim our wicks (repenting of our bad attitudes, resentments, pettiness and general lack of love) and ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit. This is not something someone else can give us, as seen in the parable when the five foolish virgins begged the wise ones for oil. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s gift to us. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in dark-ness, but have the light of life,” (John 8:12).
How to get lit? All we have to do is ask. The parable plainly shows there will be a time when it is too late to ask for the oil of the Holy Spirit to guide our lives.
I recently heard the story of three apprentice devils. They put their heads together with Satan discussing how they might deceive the people of earth. One suggested they perpetrate the lie, “There is no God.” Satan said, “No. That is stupid. Almost eve-ryone suspects there is a God.”
The second little devil said, “I know, we will tell them God is dead.” Satan said, “No. That will never work.” The third little devil fairly bounced with glee said, “I’ve got it! We’ll tell them there’s no hurry!”
May God help us to hear our “midnight cry” and be swift to awaken and make ready for what Scripture indicates will be the coming of the Bridegroom (Christ) to receive His Bride (the church).
Those who attend to the “signs of the time” and have “oil in their lamps, are not afraid of what is “seen” in the news or experienced through a pandemic. However, for some, Scripture may seem metaphorical with readers not knowing what to grasp as the intended meaning.
Believers who follow Christ’s teachings carry His Spirit within. Ideally, being watchful, seeing the “signs,” knowing the “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come,” (Matthew 24:14).
What a glorious event it will be when the many hundreds of biblical references, scholars have seen as predicators, are suddenly fulfilled. For sure . . . Jesus’ Second Coming will be the most magnanimous and numinous occasion of history—beyond anything anyone can imagine.