Thou Shalt Prepare? Part 2

Besides Noah, the Old Testament provides many examples of Spirit-filled preparation, but I want to move into the New Testament because there’s one verse that gets me every time:

“Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.” Matthew 10:9.

Here Jesus sends out the 12 disciples with a direct command to NOT prepare physically ahead of time. They should be completely dependent on God’s ability to care for them.

This verse in combination with Matthew 6:25-34 (don’t worry, tomorrow will worry about itself) prevents many, many Christians from thinking seriously about preparedness. We say: when our time comes we will accept it. God will provide the solution, I just need to pray and trust.

Of course God will take care of your family! Definitely you should pray and trust! But here’s a question for you: HOW does God provide for his followers?

In the verse above, Jesus tells the apostles not to take extra things because “the worker is worth his keep.” They stayed in homes, ate food, and slept in beds provided by willing families. As a wife and mother I can easily imagine the preparation that went into housing one of Jesus’ apostles for a night, a week, a month, or longer.

God uses His people to provide for others. His people – that’s you and me! We should be ready and willing to help whenever possible, and that includes unforeseen emergencies and disasters.

Another point from the New Testament: at the end of Acts Chapter 11, we hear about some prophets who came to Antioch, predicting that a severe famine would spread over Rome. I’m sure this led them to pray and trust that God would provide for His people. But they also put action to their prayers: “The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.” Keep in mind – the famine had not yet begun. All they had was the word of some prophets, and they acted in faith.

PREPAREDNESS TIP #2: Practice being aware of others and their needs. In the aftermath of a disaster, the people around you will be all you have for a while until help arrives. Are they hurt? Do they need shelter? Water? First aid? Could you help people that are trapped nearby?

And before a disaster, the Holy Spirit may urge you prepare something for them ahead of time, as in Acts 11. (Please note here that listening to the Holy Spirit is critical. We can’t plan for every possible disaster and provide for everybody in need — the list would be endless. But because our Lord knows what awaits us, He can impart wisdom and guidance to us through the Spirit.)

HELPFUL RESOURCE: Christian Emergency Network. Formed after 9/11, the CEN operates under the premise that Christians should “BE AWARE of the times, Be Ready and then rally all Christians to BE THERE praying for the victims, caring for them in sensitive ways, and then sharing the Hope found only in Christ.” The CEN believes that caring for others includes attending to their physical needs in an emergency.

12 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Prepare? Part 2

  1. Hey Anna,

    I have found over the years, that many people are far more concerned with FEELING like they are prepared then actually being prepared. Truly being prepared requires looking honestly at the risks, and the context that surrounds them. Most people would rather buy a bunch of junk that makes them feel better then do the unpleasant work of THINKING. Real survival is a mindset. The prepared mind will save a person regardless of the supplies available. The unprepared mind will kill a person regardless of the supplies available.

    The number one thing it takes to survive is a sharp mind. After that, good health. If person really wants to be prepared for emergencies, strong muscles and the ability to do hard labor without having a heart attack is key. After that, you can’t beat high quality sox and good pair of boots. Then, water proof matches. After that, everything else is just convenience.

    You can survive 3 weeks without food, but only 3 days without water. Walking 4 mph for 12 hours a day, you can walk 144 miles before dehydration kills you. There are very, very few disasters you can’t walk out of in three days, or even one. Walking for just 6 hours would have saved most of the New Orleansians. (At least the ones who could walk)

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  2. truthwalker — good shoes and socks are definitely important. One of the things I’ve been thinking about, as you mentioned, is water. In the cities and suburbs, it wouldn’t take much to knock out our water supply or taint it, and then what would we do? The stores would quickly run out (if we could get to them). In my reading I’ve learned that you can use the water from your hot water heater, from swimming pools, and even from the toilet tank (not bowl) in a pinch. Gross, but a lot of post-disaster survivalism isn’t pretty or how we would choose to live if we could.
    I completely agree that a sharp mind is critical. This will probably show up in a future post…

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  3. Water is easy. Filter through cloth, boil for 1 minute. That kills any microbes. You can use any standing water. If the water is tainted with things that won’t filter out through a cotton cloth, you are looking at chemical or nuclear or radiological warfare. If thats the case, you’re already dead, so it’s not a concern.

    People are attracted to disaster preparation because it fulfills an emotional need. Not because it makes any sense. There are three possible sources for nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological attack. Terrorists, a foreign attack, or an attack by your own government. In any of those cases, water would only be a concern post attack. In any of those cases, a national emergency will be initiated. This means the military replaces the existing civil government and market. Any supplies worth having will be taken to central depot and given out as the area commander sees fit, so there is no point in having any. If it is a natural disaster, then you can go with the original plan of walking out. Regardless there is no point in excessive prep.

    The US has the most well equipt, well trained military on earth. If resisting them is part of your survival plan, you will need special forces training, as well as existing social networks with supply chains of armament who are against the US. Islamic terrorists are good starting point.

    That’s what actually preparing to fight your government rather then feeling like you are, looks like. Wouldn’t it be easier and more moral to simply work to change the political system which creates a government you fear? The best way to survive is to prevent a situation where you will have to.

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  4. Water is only easy if you have access to a heat source hot/sustained enough to boil it.

    I have no intentions of fighting the US military. It’s more likely that I would be waiting on it. In the aftermath of a disaster it may take some time before help arrives, and those hours are crucial. Basic first aid, protection from fire/water, shelter. Hurricane Katrina is the perfect example of this — it took a whopping five days before many of those people got help. And we all know what happened in those five days… total chaos. Looting, crime, human waste issues, lack of water. They could have walked out, like you said, assuming they could get themselves in good walking condition with a sound mind, and first aid if necessary.

    We do have an amazing government, but it’s big and bulky. And while things have improved since Katrina, I still don’t trust it to meet the immediate basic needs of my family in an economic, natural, or man-made disaster.

    One thing that makes us extremely vulnerable is our dependence on electricity. 100 years ago, people could survive until help arrived. But without our power grid, we can’t access GPS, call for help, we can’t do much of anything. Now imagine that a whole city is unexpectedly without power for a prolonged time, weeks or months.

    You’re right, many people prepare for disaster because of an emotional need. I don’t think this is altogether bad, if they really think it through instead of spending hundreds of dollars on gear without thinking. Almost any level of preparation gives people a sense of control and readiness, that could help them maintain a sharp mind (and an “I’m a survivor” resolve) in an emergency situation. This in itself could save their lives.

    Personally I am preparing because months ago I felt an almost instinctual urge to stock up on things, similar to how I felt in the nesting stages of pregnancy. I analyzed this feeling from all angles, leading me to what I’ve written in this series.

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  5. “Water is only easy if you have access to a heat source” Thats why water proof matches comes after good boots!

    I realized after I wrote that post that it sounded insulting towards people who prepare for disasters, and implied that survival prep means being a gun toting Klan member. That’s not really what I meant. At all. 😦

    I just wanted to show that survival preparation takes a lot of imagination, because so many things are so interconnected. Like the case you make for electricity, it does so many things most people don’t realize how much they depend on it. Gas pumps spring to mind. No electricity means gas station pumps won’t work.

    But at the same time, generators aren’t a good answer. As you mentioned, there is often a period of anarchy after a disaster. You would think, No electricity means I should get a generator. But using some imagination would tell you, running a very noisy device is a giant neon sign that says “I HAVE STUFF WORTH TAKING AND STORED FUEL TO RUN THIS GENERATOR!” Not the really the sort of announcement you want to make in a anarchist society!

    That’s why I favor very low profile survival tools and techniques, preferably ones that can be used for other purposes, like good camping gear.

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  6. Thanks for clearing that up — I was beginning to worry about what kind of anti-government impression I had given about myself! Of course I am from Texas, but we’re not all like that! 🙂

    You make some good points about imagination. We have a generator for work we do in the country, and it is very loud.

    Low profile and basic are always best.

    I would write more thoughts but it seems everytime I sit down to the computer my kids go nuts. Must be in the manual of childhood or something.

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  7. The verses in Matthew are so interesting.
    I find myself thinking about those people who lost their lives in the floods we are having here in GA. Was there any way they could have better prepared themselves, and thus saved their lives.

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  8. Hi Joyful —

    I’ve been reading about the flooding and my prayers go out to everyone affected. It’s extremely difficult to look at any given situation and do the “what if” thing. Sometimes no amount of human preparation can help. If you are asleep in your mobile home when floodwaters suddenly break it apart, then there’s not much you can do. If you’re at the epicenter of an earthquake in a collapsing building, again, there’s not much you can do (but hold on for dear life, and pray). And stay calm!

    Most of the deaths in the Georgia flooding have been motorists swept from flooded roadways. Knowing how to escape from a sinking vehicle would be useful for all of us to know.

    From SaveYourLife.us
    1. Stay calm
    2. Open the Window
    3. Unfasten your seatbelt
    4. Exit through the window
    5. Swim to safety

    Could this knowledge and staying calm have saved some of those who died? Maybe, but we’ll never know. I will continue praying for you and the whole region.

    Anna

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