Ready or Not
I met with a young man recently who is getting ready to graduate from college. “I’m just not ready,” he confessed. “I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life. I’ve never really had to provide for myself and now it’s going to be all up to me. I just don’t think I’m ready.”
“Neither am I,” I told him, which brought a rather amazed smile to his face. Nobody’s fully ready for what they must do but we are thrown into life nonetheless. It is a hard thing graduating and trying to figure out what to do with one’s life and, yes, it usually gets a little easier. But we all can relate to this young man’s dilemma even if we have been out in the world for many years. Still, most every day, I am called on to deal with something that I’m just not ready for.
There is some talk among the pundits that this latest generation of young people has been coddled and given too much. There is some truth to that and many young people have chosen to move back in with their parents because they can’t immediately find a job which will produce a comfortable income. Maybe this generation is a little more afraid than some others have been. But all generations have to deal with leaving home and striking out on their own, something that is quite scary.
While the various accounts of the resurrection contain different details, they all agree on a couple of points. One of the common threads in the stories of the resurrection appearances is that the disciples don’t believe right at first. The end of Mark’s gospel, for instance, has the eleven disciples all not believing reports of the resurrection and are even doubtful when Jesus stands right in front of them.
Jesus comments on their lack of faith and then he sends them out to preach the gospel even while they are still disbelieving. Instead of waiting for them to believe, Jesus pushes them out into the world. He doesn’t require that they get everything together first. That will come, he suggests, as they go about their lives. Confirming signs will come as they are faithful to the gospel message of hope.
“Ready or not,” Jesus says, “get on with your lives, go on your journey, share what little you know and share even the questions you have. But you’ve got to go into the world. You can’t stay here holed up in this upper room hiding for the rest of your life. Go. It will all make sense later on.”
We may think of faith as having it all figured out before we are called on to act or decide or do something. Faith really has more to do with moving forward while we still have questions. Faith carries us through life, more than we carry it through life. We find faith along the journey more often than we find it before we begin the journey.
Jesus appears to the eleven and is alive in a brand new way. They do experience hope but that doesn’t take away all their fears and self-doubts. Those only know faith and guidance as they move into the world they are assigned, as they share the gospel with those who are hungry to hear it, as they look for the confirming signs along the way.
Ready or not, you and I are sent into this next day, this next period of our lives. Go in faith. And remember that faith presents itself to you as you risk living in this dangerous but God-created-and-sustained world.
Go forth into the world. There you will grow in grace, understanding, and faith.
Robert C. Wisnewski, Jr.