Prepared With an Answer
Preparation. Depending on the situation, the word and what it represents can make us feel overwhelmed, excited, hurried, stressed or even peaceful.
September is National Preparedness Month. A whole month dedicated to preparing for the unexpected.
Where I live, we have hurricane preparedness in June as we prepare for the season from June through November when hurricanes are most likely to occur. We create a kit that includes additional medicines, batteries, evacuation routes, emergency contact lists, bottled water and non-perishable food, and extra items for pets.
We also prepare for expected events like changes in seasons, school years, a move, a new job, a vacation or trip, a holiday or birthday, a wedding, or the arrival of a new baby. The list could go on, but the common theme is that all these events require preparation.
Preparation isn’t limited to just events though. I Peter 3:15 reminds us to also be prepared with an answer. “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
We are reminded that others see the hope that we have as followers of Christ. They notice and occasionally will ask us why we are so joyful, peaceful, confident, or [fill in the blank]. During those opportunities, we should be prepared to answer those questions with a response that will offer hope, life, joy, and freedom.
Many churches or ministries offer training on how to respond to such questions. If your church offers them, take advantage of them. If your church doesn’t and you can’t find any resources, you still have a beautiful way of responding. Tell your story.
People feel connected to others who have walked through similar struggles. When we can relate to how others feel, and then offer the solution we have discovered in Christ, hope is born. Sharing the hope that is within us shouldn’t be hard or something that makes us nervous. By communicating our story and what Christ did for us, it makes responding to the question so much easier.
It still is a good idea to practice our answer - not to memorize it - but to have an idea of how to say what we want succinctly and clearly. If we ramble or struggle to communicate that hope we have, it loses some of the effectiveness. Preparing ahead of time, as indicated in First Peter gives us the confidence to respond.
But we must remember to answer with gentleness and respect. If our answer makes someone upset, we mustn’t respond in kind. Regardless of their response, we demonstrate love and respect. We often don’t know where we fit in the harvest cycle. First Corinthians 3:6 reminds us that some of us plant the seeds, others come along and water those seeds, but God gets the harvest.
If someone asked you today about the hope you have, are you prepared to give an answer?