I was awakened at 12:30 a.m. a few weeks ago by the sound of chirping. The smoke detector in our bedroom was sending out a low battery warning. We didn’t have any 9-volt batteries in the house because my son had changed a different room’s detector a few days earlier, and that had been the last one. My husband pulled out the battery and we went back to sleep ... until 2:30 a.m., when the smoke detector in our daughter’s bedroom began chirping.
A trip to the store the next day for a very large pack of 9-volt batteries was followed by insisting that all the detectors in the house get new batteries. No more of this wondering and being on edge during the night. We needed to be prepared well ahead of time.
This incident reminded me of the parable of the 10 virgins found in Matthew 25:1-13: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The bridegroom represents Jesus, and the virgins (bridesmaids) are those waiting for Him to return. There are over 300 prophecies in the Bible about Jesus’ first coming, describing his birth, life, and death in specific detail. He fulfilled them all. There are also numerous prophecies about His second coming. Although there has always been much controversy about the exact time that will happen, the point is that it will happen. “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Our job isn’t to know exactly when, but to be ready. Like my sister the firefighter who is ready for a call to come in at any moment, day or night, we need to be prepared for Jesus’ return. Not preoccupied, but prepared.
Deceivers, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes — the birth pains Jesus described in Matthew 24 are here. People are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving ... does it sound like we are living in the godlessness of the last days? (2 Timothy 3).
The bridegroom comes when the foolish virgins are out looking for oil, and the door is shut. Does that remind you of Noah’s ark? After the door is shut, it is too late.
Faith in Jesus is a very personal thing. One person’s faith in Him cannot save someone else. You can’t hope with a false confidence that by association with those who trust Jesus, you will somehow get by. The foolish virgins had lamps, but they were not useful without oil. It wasn’t that they ran out, but that they never had any in the first place. They went out to get some, but it was too late.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
• Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.