““But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10 NIV
In this parable of Jesus, there were 10 single young women who anxiously awaited the Bridegroom’s arrival. Jesus described 5 as wise and 5 as foolish. But all 10 knew without a doubt that He was coming.
With anticipation, each one held onto a lantern in order to watch through the darkness for His grand entrance to begin the wedding feast. The banquet hall had been made ready. The women watched and waited, but as night grew long their lamps were nearly burned out. Sleep overtook them.
Have you ever experienced one of those anxiety induced dreams in which you feel afraid, but for all your might you can’t make your legs run away? Or how about the one in which you have an appointment, but you wind up in a maze of streets and sidewalks, unable to find your way to your destination?
In these dreams, of which I’m quite familiar, it feels like I’m stuck. I want to run, but my feet won’t move. I want to walk to my accounting class, but I keep taking wrong turns, bumping into people, and getting sidetracked until I’ve completely missed the class. Then I wake up sweating and feeling the panic, but grateful it was just a dream.
Thankfully, I’ve not experienced those dreams so much lately. However, just writing this brings back the real feelings that go with the memories.
“The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”
Matthew 25:3-4 NIV
This passage of scripture evokes some of those similar emotions and thoughts, and even a bit of panic – trembling. In a positive, motivating way, theses words of Jesus cause a real sense of urgency to overwhelm my heart and mind.
I think that was His point.
I think He knows us that well.
I’ve read this parable quite a number of times at various places and in a variety of stages on my faith journey. The various lessons highlighted by Holy Spirit have all been timely and helpful to build my faith.
Today I see intention and preparedness highlighted throughout this story.
“The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps.”
Matthew 25:4 NIV
Maybe you guessed already, because of the recurring dreams that have plagued my sleep in the past, and you are correct, I struggle against fear. If there’s anything I would say that I absolutely loathe, it’s fear. And the reason is that fear and insecurity have been strongholds in my life.
Fear is crippling. If left unchecked, if fed by continual agreement with it, fear will literally paralyze a person into absolute destruction. I know because I have lived it. And on so many levels, at various times, and over layers of issues, Jesus has walked me through and out of destruction and into freedom. I’m so grateful I know the Good Shepherd and He knows me.
I guess I, like Paul, want God to simply take this thorn from me. I’ve asked more than three times. God’s grace is as sufficient for me as it was for Paul. His grace is just as sufficient for you.
““Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’”
Matthew 25:11-12 NIV
I’m still pondering the next layer of fear that Holy Spirit has identified as worthy of examining. We will do it together. I’ve already confessed it to a couple of trusted friends. They will walk beside me and not try to fix. They will listen and not judge. They will pray for my deliverance, and rejoice with me on the other side of acceptance and freedom.
So, I recognize Jesus asking me to leave this writing a bit unfinished. I’m going to let this parable hang a bit in our spiritual atmosphere and ask Jesus to do with this pondering whatever He wants with you, the dear Reader.
I pray you will read His words for yourself, ask Him what He wants you to know. Open your heart, and hands to the Holy Trinity of God as they come to visit with you at your table. May your dining be rich and nutritional, healing and satisfying, in Jesus’ powerful and loving name. Amen!
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
I linked up with writing friends: