Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. Matthew 25:1-4 NLT

Photograph courtesy of Steve Murphy.

Remember that big deal about the total solar eclipse a couple of weeks ago? I didn’t even start paying attention to it till the weekend right before, when I started listening again to the local radio stations and reading about it on social media. When I realized I was less than 75 miles away from the nearest path of totality, I started making plans to go.

I really bummed myself out by waiting so long!

I couldn’t find anyone with those special solar sunglasses.

I forgot my small ice chest somewhere in my storage unit.

I’d donated my lawn chair before moving because it sat too low and hadn’t bought a new one.

I left an hour and a half later than I’d planned to leave.

My GPS stopped working after I rolled into town. It was the grace of God that allowed me to find this quiet, off-the-beaten-path school park three blocks from the post office where I’d stopped to look for directions in my phone.

The worse part was that I didn’t have the equipment to take photos of the eclipse.

As I watched the four professional, prepared photographers sitting in the park adjusting their equipment and talking with one another, I felt like one of the five unprepared virgins standing around with no oil in her lamp.

I couldn’t do anything with the pitiful, naked little 35-millimeter camera I’d brought because I didn’t have the correct zoom lens (which I’d kept telling myself I was going to get months ago for regular nature photo shoots) or the correct filters. Thankfully, I was able to pick the brains of one of the photographers, who advised me as to which lens and filters I would have needed today. He advised I take photos of people watching the eclipse instead of frying my camera’s light sensor.

I should have taken this as a cue to experience and enjoy the eclipse. Instead I fussed, trying to get photographs anyway with my not-so-smart phone and my naked little camera. I almost missed the Big Event. As most of you found out, it was one of the absolute most amazing natural events one could experience in a lifetime.

When I got home, I reflected on my woeful lack of preparation for today’s event.

Truthfully, I’d heard bits and pieces about the eclipse two months ago.

I’d planned to buy the zoom lens but let myself run out of money and time to get it.

I could have made a pinhole box to see the event without solar glasses.

I could have gone to my storage unit and found the cooler.

I could have asked to borrow a folding chair. I could have taken photos of the people in the park instead of fussing and forgetting.

Is this how most of us—including myself—prepare for marriage?

I hear about how tough marriage is, even for the best couples, but dismiss it due to my lack of experience and idealism.

I don’t prepare myself emotionally for a spiritual union by prayer, reading good books, befriending more couples with longstanding and great marriages, and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform my character.

I get too lazy to go to my spiritual storage unit of spiritual warfare tools like continuing to pray for my future husband.

I let myself run out of faith in God’s love and promises for me.

I could have borrowed joy and hope from watching several couples get married in my previous church.

When the event (eclipse/marriage) actually arrives, you will be overwhelmed. Awed. Everything will seem so surreal. The sky will black out, your brain will go numb, and all you will be able to focus on is the One. Big. Event.

The event (eclipse/marriage) is going to be such a big deal that you will want to be as prepared for it as you could possibly be.

Don’t wait till the last minute when it’s about upon you to get ready. You need to be ready.

Watch and pray.

Be busy serving in ministry.

Get growing in servanthood, humility, communication, conflict resolution, and sacrificial love.

Invest whatever time and money you need so you can get a grip on these basics.

You better believe I’m going to be ready for the next total solar eclipse, which will be April 8, 2024.

I will have the correct lenses and filters. I will have my small cooler and tall lawn chair. I will have had my hotel room booked at least three years in advance.

I will have oil in my lamp.

I hope, if and when the Lord calls me to wed, that I will be as ready for my husband after all these years of praying as I will be for that eclipse!

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