“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 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. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’” …
No one is born with patience. We have to learn that virtue through long, trying experiences. Like sitting at the Secretary of State office to renew your driver’s license. They hand you a little slip of paper with number 487 on it, and the digital counter informs you that they are currently serving number 362. Every few minutes another number clicks by, and it feels like everyone in the room is holding their breath, watching the clock in the land where time stands still. That’s how you learn patience, and there are no shortcuts.
Jesus’ told this parable to teach us about waiting for His return and to warn us that no one knows when that moment will come. He is the bridegroom who will come one day to take his followers home to heaven. The ten virgins are excited for the wedding to begin, but unlike weddings in our day that usually start right on time, they don’t know when to expect the bridegroom to arrive and kick-off the festivities. They have to wait, with lamps burning so they can see who is coming and how to find their way to the party. The wise virgins are prepared to wait with extra oil for their lamps.
We need fuel to keep our faith burning while we watch and wait for Jesus. That fuel comes from reading stories in God’s word of long-suffering, faithful disciples who have gone before us. We also find fuel for our lamps in the encouraging words of fellow believers who, like us, are learning patience. We wait for Jesus to return, like the virgins watching for the bridegroom, and along the way, we wait for the smaller victories of answered prayers, lifted burdens, healing and reconciliation. Keep your lamp burning with extra fuel on hand. We don’t know how long we may have to wait, but we do know for sure that the Lord is on his way.
Father, teach me to wait on You and to trust in Your perfect timing. You know what is best for me and when to give it. Help me to stand firm in faith. Come, Lord Jesus. I am ready and waiting for You. Amen.____________________________
Pastor Mike Mirakian