About a year ago, my friend and fellow CB member, Shani ( @shanijane ) stepped out in faith and bought a ticket to a women's conference that is being held at my church this coming weekend. She didn't know how she was going to get there for she would have to travel more than 9,000 miles to get there but she had made up her mind. One way or another, she was going to be there.
It required more than just a plan on her part. It required effort and I am sure it required sacrifice. She had decisions to make. She could go out and do this or buy that or she could forego that and put the money into her "Sparkle Fund". What did she want more?
Apparently she wanted to come to America and go to the Sparkle Conference more for a few months later she had saved up enough money for her plane ticket. A ticket from Australia to the US is not cheap; especially when that trip involves flying to the Midwest. Once she determined she was going to do it though, once she set her eyes on her goal, she did it.
I thought we talked about her desire to visit the US a lot over the nine years I have known her and we did, actually. However, we did so more after she actually purchased her ticket. Texts flew back and forth as we talked about her upcoming trip. We did not just merely talk to each other about her trip, we told our family and friends about it as well. I would even casually bring it up when talking to strangers. "I have a friend that is coming to Australia. I've known her for almost nine years but we've never met in person."
You know, no one ever once suggested to me that my friend was a figment of my imagination. Never. No one ever hinted to me that she was not going to come, even though she was not yet here. Instead they would say things like, "Wow! Really? How did you meet? You've never met in person before and she is coming all this way? You must be really excited. That is so cool!" Hmm...
My friend had to prepare for her coming. There were arrangements to be made, documents to be filled out, time off requested, shopping, packing and a host of other things. While she was busy on her end, I was not idle. I too needed to prepare for her coming. I got my house in order and in fact figured it was a good time to do some purging. I made more than one trip to Goodwill. I think they began to recognize my car as I found yet more things I decided I no longer needed. My son had a few things that he'd left in our guest room from when that room had been his bedroom. It was time to move those things out of the closet! He came over one day to them up in a box and he carried them off a long with a few other larger items that were going to their new home in his house, not mine. Out with the old and in with the new!
As the day drew nearer, though I was technically "ready", I continued to find little things to do here and there. I wanted to tweak this, move that over there a bit, polish something a bit more, add something, remove something, etc. Every time I told my husband I was finished, he would find me fiddling with something else.
Finally nothing more could be done. It was time to go to the airport and wait for Shani's arrival. Even though I was tracking the last leg of her journey on my iPhone, I got there early. I didn't want to get caught up in a traffic jam or some other unforseen problem. I just wanted to get to where I was supposed to be with plenty of time to spare. I grabbed two seats for me and my husband near the baggage carousel. My husband got up periodically to walk around but not me. I stayed put and waited. A few friends messaged me. "Is she there yet?" No, she wasn't but her flight was 30 minutes out, than 20, than 10, than 5. At last I got the message that her plane had landed but there was no sign of her. That didn't matter to me. I still waited expectantly. The empty hall filled up with passengers as a number of planes had landed. There was no Shani but still I waited. I was confident of her arrival.
Then at last we saw her coming toward us. I jumped up to meet her and we embraced one another. At last we saw each other face to face without a screen between us. It had been a long time but that day had finally come.
This morning I was reminded about another upcoming meeting that I have. I have been waiting a lifetime for that meeting, busily preparing for it as well. I've received the notice of His coming and I believe it but I do not want to merely sit down and wait for His arrival. I want to do all that I can to prepare myself for it. That involves not only looking forward to it but talking about it with others. It involves asking the Holy Spirit to inspect my heart and helping me find those dusty corner that need attention or moving out junk that has accumulated and replacing it with new items that are not only beautiful but useful and pure.
When I finally see Jesus face to face, I need to be ready. Are you?