"Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" Psalm 27:14 How would you feel -- what would you do if you knew you had 48 hours to live?

As I was researching this devotion, I tried to find out how various church leaders said they would get ready if they knew they had only a week or a day, before they would stand before Jesus. The results were fascinating:

* In the 13th century, St. Francis said he would keep on watering his garden.

* In the 1500s, Martin Luther said, "If he knew Jesus was coming tomorrow, he would plant a tree today."

* In the 18th century, John Wesley, said "I would spend my last day exactly as I expect to spend it now."

Amazing, isn't it?

Three representatives from three different branches of Christianity, speaking from three different centuries, are in agreement. They all believe the best way to prepare for Jesus' coming back is to be in a constant state of preparedness.

More important than the advice of these three is that which comes from the Savior, Himself. Jesus says, "Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour" (Matthew 25:13).

About 20 years ago, a father who had taken his two children swimming in the Atlantic, realized the tide was pulling them out to sea.

Knowing his limitations, he told his daughter -- the stronger swimmer -- "Honey, I've got to get your brother to shore. When I do, I'll come back for you. I want you to float on your back till I return. You don't have to swim. Just float on your back."

With that the father swam away, brought his son to shore, and in a state of near exhaustion, went out with some lifeguards to find his daughter. She wasn't where they expected her to be. Further and further out to sea they searched. After two hours, they spotted a little body floating in the water.

No, don't worry. She was okay.

After they brought her aboard the boat, one of the lifeguards asked, "Were you frightened being out in the ocean all by yourself?"

She answered, "I wasn't afraid. My father told me to float on my back, and he told me that he would come back. I trusted him. He loves me and never lies."

That's the attitude the Lord expects from us as we wait for Jesus to come back. He expects us, for as long as it takes, to remember He loves us, hasn't forgotten us, and to be unafraid. Understand, I'm not going to tell you that your life will be untroubled. Christians have more than their share of tribulations. But I will tell you that until Jesus returns He will give you what you need to deal with those problems and pains.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, stay with me. In a troubled world with myriad sorrows, be by my side and keep me prepared for that unknown hour when Jesus will return to me or I will be brought to Jesus. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.

Pastor Ken Klaus Lutheran Hour Ministries All rights reserved; not to be duplicated without permission.

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