In his excellent book on marriage, Paul Tripp talks about how to prepare for whatever life will throw at us. Listen to the words of a wise and very experienced Christian counselor:
You and I simply never know for sure what is coming next. Think about it: yor life has not worked according to your plan. You could not have written yourself into your present situation twenty years ago. Last week didn’t work according to your plan. Today won’t work according to your plan. Your life is under the wise and sovereign control of another (see Acts 17:26-27; Dan. 4:34b-35). This means that, every day, you deal with the unexpected, with thigns you didn’t plan to have on your plate… But dealing with the unexpected doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared.
Tripp says that what we need is ‘prepared spontaneity’.
Now I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it isn’t. You actually can be prepared for things that you don’t yet know you will face. You can be ready for things that you had no idea would come your way. In fact, I am persuaded that this is one fo the main functions of Scripture. It enables us to be prepared to decide, think, desire, act, and speak well in a world in which we aren’t sovereign. Here’s how it works: if we have taken in what the Bible says about God, ourselves, life, sin, and the surrounding world, we are ready to deal spontaneously with things we didn’t know we would be dealing with. (Paul Tripp, What Did You Expect? p. 19)
And so, he argues, it’s not just the Bible passages on marriage that are relevant to our marriages. Everything the Bible says is relevant to them.
In other words, mature decisions and responses to our circumstances don’t happen by accident. If you and I want to be prepared for what the future holds, we need to know our Bibles, to be saturated in Scripture. Not necessarily because every sermon will be immediately relevant, or every Bible passage obviously applicable, but because our long-term goal is to learn God’s wisdom, to develop the mind of Christ. To be ready for what life brings in 10, or 20 years time, we need sermons now, we need plenty of time reading, meditating, memorizing, discussing Scripture now, all the time praying with Martin Luther, “Lord, teach me, teach me, teach me.”