My word for 2021 is PREPARE. It seems every bit as exciting as it is terrifying.
Allow me to first indulge my WordNerd tendencies.
1a. to make ready before hand for some purpose, use, or activity, event, occasion b. to put in a proper state of mind.
2. to work out the details of
3. to manufacture compound, compose, put together
4. to get ready for
5. to fit our, equip
6. to lead up to and soften (a dissonance or impact) by means of preparation
Some synonyms for prepare are:
make ready, assemble, arrange, construct, compose, devise, work out, formulate, cook, blend, infuse, brew, muster, make, dish up, gird up one’s loins, practice, train, warm up, study, work, teach, willing, ready agreeable, form, develop.
And some words related to prepare:
adapt, advise (or preach), arm, establish, fit, to make receptive.
Some antonyms for prepare are:
destroy, discourage, dispense, dissuade, forget, halt, hurt, neglect, ruin, scatter, break, stop, take, weaken, ignore, wreck, disorganize, demolish, disarrange, confuse, disturb, unsettle, upset.
One of my jobs in the Army was Battalion Plans Officer. I was constantly writing Operations Orders for our units’ involvement in training exercises and real world conflicts. My team and I would meticulously research the situation, our mission, the commander’s intent, schemes for execution and sustainment, as well as key elements of command and control so that I could clearly communicate. But all the while, a phrase echoed in my mind: “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
I knew no matter how perfect a plan seemed, things would go wrong. Fear would breed confusion. The enemy wouldn’t act the way we expected. Vehicles would have maintenance issues. Critical supplies would run low. Supply routes would encounter debilitating delays. Communications would break down. Friendly fire could erupt. Some Soldiers wouldn’t even read the plan.
That’s where we find the difference between planning and being prepared.
Unprepared units failed to accomplish the mission. When things didn’t go according to plan they fall into doubt, despair, and division, rendered useless.
But, units that were prepared and empowered to improvise and adapt when things didn’t go according to plan were able to overcome combat challenges and chaos.
Friends, make no mistake, there will be trouble this side of heaven, we have a very real enemy, and spiritual warfare is an actual thing. The enemy of our souls seeks to destroy, discourage, scatter, weaken, break, and kill us. Tempted by pride and pleasure our flesh nature sins against against each other. And still, our real battle is not against each other it is waged in the heavenly places and often spills over into this world.
But God has given us everything we need to be prepared for the trouble we will face here. He warned us we would have tribulations in this life, but He also assured us He has overcome the world and freely offers us peace—peace with Him through Jesus’s sacrifice which makes peace with each other possible. He has preserved His Word throughout the ages for us to study and learn His will, to train, equip, and arm us. Prayer provides us a direct line of communication with our Commander. He has given us His Spirit to help, guide, convict, and remind us of His Truth. He has given us victory over sin, death, and the devil. His very presence goes with us to give us courage.
And He has prepared for us a mission…to go and make disciples of all nations.
Have you prepared for this eternal mission as much as you have prepared for this weeks meals, your spring garden, or holiday guests? Are you ready to share the Good News of the Gospel no matter what chaos, confusion, or consternation the enemy launches at you?
I hope you’ll join me throughout 2021 as we explore what it means to be prepared.
What ways have you prepared to face life’s challenges? What has helped you when you best laid plans have gone awry?