In my last blog I wrote about the spectre of famine and encouraged my readers to take up the hobby of vegetable gardening as part of a response plan to this growing global phenomenon. I didn’t know it at the time but this is a fairly popular subject among those who engage in something called “prepping” which is a topic which is becoming widely discussed by many people around the world, including many Believers.
I think this is a topic worth some serious thought. Some people have never come to the realization that they might someday, on very short notice, be violently ejected from their comfort zone and thrust into a situation where everything they’re accustomed to relying on for security, safety, sustenance and comfort is lost to them and they have to do their best to improvise under very difficult circumstances. But the fact is, it can happen to anyone, including me or you, at any time.
Does the Bible have anything to say about this?
It certainly does, and I’m going to quote just one passage which I think illustrates the point that God not only allows but expects people like me and you to use wisdom in this area and do what we can to prepare ourselves, our families and our homes for natural disasters, economic downturns, social unrest, political upheaval, wars, famines, pandemics, etc.
In Luke chapter 4, Satan tried to get Jesus to sin by quoting Scripture verses out of context (there’s a whole other blog, maybe even a book, which could be written about that topic) but Jesus is ready with a good answer because He knew the Scriptures so well (again, a whole other blog or book could be written about that) including when Satan dares Him to throw Himself off the roof of the Temple in Jerusalem because the Bible contains a promise that God will “send His angels” to prevent harm from coming to those who put their trust in Him.
But Jesus answers by saying that it is ALSO written “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
I think the principle that can be observed here is that God DOES promise to take care of us in all circumstances, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to live responsibly and use wisdom.
So, all of that is to say that I think that “prepping” is a very prudent activity for Believers to engage in, both individually, as families and as congregations and wider communities. It’s worth mentioning in this context that there are MANY people in our communities such as children, the handicapped and the elderly who will need help in an emergency, and if we haven’t prepared to take care of ourselves, we won’t be able to help them. It’s simply due diligence.
So, with all that in mind, there are many good websites which contain advice about how to do some “prepping” in your home, your school and even in your workplace. But I’d like to offer some very simple advice of my own.
In my observation, “Prepping” and/or “Survivalist” discussions tend to focus on gear like pocket knives, tents, freeze-dried food, blankets, generators, “bug out bags” etc. That stuff is definitely important but I would say there’s two pieces of equipment that you need to have in the best possible shape in order to deal with any kind of emergency (and also just for general living) and they are your mind and your body.
Having survived (although that might be an overly dramatic term) a handful of natural and manmade disasters in my life, I can tell you that the mental and emotional SHOCK it produces can paralyze you. The old phrase “like a deer in the headlights” is applicable here, and like that metaphorical deer, the “freezing up” that you can do in such a circumstance can cost you precious seconds or even minutes which you can’t afford to lose as conditions deteriorate around you and you race to preserve your own life and the lives of those who depend on you.
So you need to be MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY prepared for such circumstances. It might sound strange but you need to acquire the ability to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You need to develop a habit of doing (without hesitation!!!) what you need to do even though you don’t want to do it because it’s physically painful or difficult, inconvenient or otherwise not much fun.
The good news is, this can be done by doing something you need to do anyway, which is get your body in good physical condition, and you can start doing this right away.
Set the alarm clock for 5:30 AM tomorrow morning. When it goes off in the morning, turn it off, drink a glass of water, use the restroom if you need to, and then IMMEDIATELY go for a thirty minute walk. After doing that for a week, add a backpack with some weight in it to your morning walks. After doing that for a few weeks, maybe you’ll develop a more sophisticated exercise routine.
But doing this will toughen up both your mind and your body to do physically painful, inconvenient but necessary things. It will get you comfortable with being uncomfortable, and it can ALSO give you an opportunity to do something else that’s vitally important, and that’s pray.
Think about this as getting three birds with one stone. By getting up early and going for a walk while you pray, you’ll be toughening yourself mentally, strengthening yourself physically and engaging in spiritual warfare for yourself, your family, your community, etc. all at the same time. What a bargain!
This is, of course, just a small first step and there are many other things that you can and should do in order to “prep” for whatever might be coming at you in the coming weeks, months and years. But I think this is a good start.
May God give us all the strength, wisdom and courage to prepare for the future, whatever it might bring.