A Christian’s Call to Prepare, by J.P.

In 1919, the Spanish flu killed around 75 million people in a single year (Knobler, pp. 60–61). In 1931, the China floods killed over two million people (NOVA). In 1945, America dropped two atomic bombs that killed around 200,000 people (Radiation Effects Research Foundation). In 2010, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit Haiti and killed 316,000 people (USGS). In the past century alone, 29 countries have had to deal with hyperinflation, causing severe economic depression, during which millions died from starvation, disease and looting. These events go to show that disaster has always been an unavoidable aspect of life, and will continue to be unavoidable as long as sin is still in this world. However, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Although it is nigh impossible to avoid these events, it is possible to lower the death toll and effect of damage by being properly prepared. Individual households can take responsibility in making their city a better and safer place to live. To learn how to be properly prepared for events like this, we must look back at these terrible catastrophes, and learn.

One such catastrophe was the Great Depression. Besides being the greatest economic crisis this country has ever seen, the Depression starved to death perhaps up to 12 million Americans–10% of the population. (Pravda.ru). [JWR Adds: This figure is disputed, primarily based on the difference between the 1930 and 1940 census, which showed a 7.3% population increase, but for comparison between 1920 and and 1930 there was a 13.7% population increase. Even excluding immigration deltas there were significant numbers of starvation deaths.] Two major events that caused the downfall of our economy are the failure of banks, which led up to the stock market crash, and the Dust Bowl, a dust storm that left 500,000 Americans homeless and destroyed most of the farmable land and crops in America (First Measured Century: PBS).

Compare the events that caused the depression to the conditions of today. For example, in the past twenty years the average number of natural disasters for a twenty-year time span is up by four hundred percent (Natural News). Yes, natural disasters fluctuate throughout history, but the severity of these events is greater than we have ever seen before. Just look at the beginning of this century: it started in 2004 with Hurricane Katrina, which caused $180 billion worth of damage. Even though the final death count of 1,833 does not seem significant, Katrina also left over 12,000 people homeless, and 25 percent of Louisiana jobless (National Climatic Data Center). Furthermore, rioting and looting became rampant because people were desperate for food and resources. However, Katrina is only one of the numerous natural disasters. Out of the ten biggest earthquakes on record, three of them happened in the past ten years. The earthquake that caused the tsunami in Japan in 2011 cost their economy $235 billion, killed 15,850 people, injured 6,011, with 3,287 missing (Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures). Nevertheless, experts speculate that the natural disasters will not subside. Sooner than later Mt. Rainer will erupt, creating a mudslide that will result in the death of thousands, and kill miles of environment (Popular Mechanics). Expert Seismologists estimate that more earthquakes of higher magnitude will hit Mississippi, as well as the Atlantic Ocean, which would cause an enormous tsunami. We live in delicate times, but not only because of these natural disasters.

Our country is in an enormous economic crisis. According to the United States National Debt Clock, provided by the Federal Reserve, our current national debt at exactly 8 o’clock pm on February 27, 2012 amounts to $15,404,053,723,986, and is increasing at an average of $48,998 per second. If we were to divide this debt between taxpayers in America, each one of them would owe $136,167. In just one month, it has increased over $180 billion, and the average taxpayer would owe another $1,000. This debt is seemingly impossible to get rid of. What is even worse than this debt is the inflation of the dollar bill. Since the beginning of the decade, the dollar has lost 24 percent of its value. Furthermore, many countries have recently dropped the dollar as their reserve currency, such as China, Japan, Switzerland, Kuwait, Libya, Iran, Russia, and Syria. They have done this because they do not trust the dollar and do not want to lose any more money than they already have. In addition to the devaluation of the dollar, more and more banks today keep closing because of the inability of Americans to pay off their own debt. From 2000 to 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Company recorded seventeen banks failing and having to close. Between 2010 and 2011, over 150 banks closed. The amount of debt we are in and the devaluation of our money is a very real threat to this country, one that will not end well.

As well as suffering from a fragile economy, this world is experiencing a major food shortage. According to the World Bank, 44 million people have been pushed into poverty because of rising food prices. The earth is also losing its topsoil due to the new methods of farming we have adopted. In addition, the earth has not been reproducing the natural amount of topsoil that it used to produce (Seattle PI). The World Bank also states that food prices have increased by 36 percent in the past 12 months. Even though we may not feel the effect where we live, neither did those of the 1920’s. Hedonism dominated the 1920’s, as well as the increased movement in liberal thinking. This same attitude is thriving in the times we live in today, and has taken an even greater extreme. Every type of event that led up to the Great Depression we have experienced in this past decade. The extreme natural disasters, food shortages and insane increase in bank failures are the precursors of something that will be much worse.

Nevertheless, why should we care? These events are frightening, and it is not comfortable to dwell on such things, but there comes a point where we must deal with the inevitable. The magnitude of these events is truly incredible, and is seemingly outside the scope of our influence. Fortunately, this is not the case, and there is a practical way to be prepared for such events as these. Though it is not comfortable to dwell on these events, we cannot stand around and do nothing. In light of these events and this principle of action, there are three points to show how Christians ought to handle these events. First, there is Biblical justification of a Prepper mentality. Second, the Biblical examples of physical preparation give us an example to follow. Third and finally, the practicality of Survivalism is a justifiable use of resources. Therefore, based on Biblical principles and the events of the past century, Christians have a moral and practical obligation to prepare for catastrophes.
Before dismissing what I am about to say as extremely right-winged, back woods redneck, or an advocate for the zombie apocalypse to come tomorrow, listen to why I am presenting this argument. Many Christians in America have jumped to the wrong side of the topic because liberal America has exaggerated, skewed, and falsified the reality of Survivalism.  I am presenting this argument in its true light from two different standpoints: the cost to benefit aspect, and the morality of preparation.

When a Christian is facing any decision, the first place to look is the Scriptures. Scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom, written by the wisest man to ever walk the earth, Solomon. Proverbs 2:1-5 describes how we need to cry out for wisdom, and seek her as silver. Verse 5 declares, “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” To find the knowledge of God, it is necessary to have wisdom.

Therefore, when Proverbs 22:3 states, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished,” we need to listen and act upon this insight into becoming godly men. Seeing how important it is to align our views with the Lord’s, look at the man who does not listen and take action, but rather continues in his folly. Different versions of the Bible calls the person in this verse different names, such as simple, thoughtless, naïve, gullible, and fool. Throughout Proverbs, we see how much God disdains the fool. In this case, the fool is the one who disregards preparation and continues with his life like there is nothing wrong in this world. Do you want to be in that category of person who ignores wisdom, scorns prudence, and disregards foreseeable danger? On the other hand, will you listen to wisdom, and acknowledge the Biblical standard of living?

This Biblical standard of living is one of action. The ethic of working and collecting for yourself is spread throughout the Bible. Proverbs 6:6-8 gives an example. “Go to the ant you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers food in the harvest.” The ant creates and stores up food for when she will need it, while the sluggard does not, and will pay the consequences. We are to rely on Christ, but that does not mean we stand around and just wait for Him to come back. Look at the example of Noah. God told him he was going to destroy the world, and then told him to build an ark. God demanded action of Noah, just as He always expects action from us. James 2:26 tells us that faith without works is dead. Many Christians apply this to their life, but it also needs to apply to the upcoming catastrophes. Christians need to see the danger coming ahead, and take action by preparing for it.

As well as the Biblical example of reason why to prepare, the practicality of preparing for catastrophes makes it inexcusable to be unprepared. Almost everybody will agree that preparation is necessary for certain events, such as fire drills and lock downs, because people see the cost to benefit ratio as much more practical than a hassle. It is worth the time for the reward. Why do these people not apply this to preparation of emergencies on a much larger scale? To fathers and future fathers, how much is it worth to you to keep your family safe? You buy life, automotive, house, medical, and who else knows what type of insurance, but what are you going to do when an earthquake hits and the grocery store is empty. Alternatively, maybe the bank cannot give you your money because it just does not have it due to others not paying off their debts. Will you have to look into their eyes and tell them you will have to deal with being hungry for a little bit? What if that little bit has been a week, and one of them is getting sick. No good father is going to sit around and let his child die. Citywide anarchy, starvation, and a gigantic increase in crime are to be expected once more people come to the same realization. I realize this seems very far-fetched and there is little chance of this happening. That is what Sarah Luker thought, an average Betty Crocker housewife. Then Hurricane Ike destroyed their house and her family had nothing to live on. Since then, Sarah has embraced the Prepper mindset, canning food and storing resources so that she will be ready for catastrophe the next time it strikes. More and more “normal” people are seeing the benefits of preparing. Costco is now providing survival kits in handy backpacks, with food for two weeks, knives, hatchets, a tent, and other essentials to survival. This is the reasoning of ordinary people who see the danger coming, and the obvious reason to prepare for them. Nevertheless, people question how much of a priority this should take. You apply this same reasoning to insurance. You pay so that when something bad happens, you will be able to fix your care, or get a new house. Apply this mindset to preparing for catastrophe. Is it not identical to buying life insurance? People pay money just in case they die and cannot take care of their family. How about buying resources to sustain your family just in case something goes horribly awry?  Christ says to love your neighbor as yourself, but if you are unable to love and take care of your own family in times of trouble, how are you going to be an example of Christ like love for his children?

Nevertheless, how much is enough? While some will buy a two-week survival kit and call it good, others will pay thousands of dollars to have a nuclear bunker in their backyard. Where is the line drawn that says this is enough? Frankly, there is no such line. However, the principle I am advocating requires one to know what is going on around them. Therefore, when the time we live in is in direct comparison to the time of the Great Depression, one ought to prepare to be ready for an event such as this. It is your responsibility to be well informed on the current events of today that will affect whether or not you are prepared enough. Proverbs declares that the wise man seeks out council; this applies to understanding how much to be prepared! There are hundreds of books and web sites about preparation and today’s current events. There is no excuse to ignorant of the world around you.

However, many Christians are still weary of embracing this Survivalist mindset, for three overarching reasons. First, that the events that people prepare for are farfetched and blown out of proportion by the stereotypical doomsayer. Another is that the call of dependence, that to depend on God implies dependence in all things, and that we need not worry about tomorrow. Finally, many object to Survivalism because they cannot afford to spend the money, and that it is a waste of resources.

The first daunting enemy that stands in the way of justification for Survivalism is the stereotype people have given those who are labeled as Survivalist, Doomsayers, Preppers, or even Zombie hunters. Though being a Prepper or Survivalist is what I am advocating, the baggage that society associates with these groups is unjustified. Though there are antisocial groups who would love it if they had the opportunity to blow a couple zombie heads off or maybe start a fire sale, Survivalists or Preppers do not fall into this category. All that Survivalists or Preppers stand for is the mindset of being prepared for the unpredictable events of life; they are not hoping for the end of the world to come tomorrow.

These same people also claim that the coming events Preppers warn society of are “doomsayer exaggerations.” This comes only from ignorance of the current and past events. Looking at the events of the past century, it would be foolish to disregard them just because it is socially awkward to accept the solution that Preppers are providing. As I explained earlier, these events are in direct comparison to those of the Great Depression. In addition, the numbers and examples I gave came from sources unrelated to the topic of Survivalism, such as PBS, The Federal Insurance Corporation, and the World Bank. The events are not skewed or twisted to try to advocate the end of the world. They are only to show that there are events that have the potential to destroy lives in the future, and it is only wise to prepare for events such as these.

Finally, the next objection many Christians have is the call of dependence on God, which is based on the Scripture passage in Luke 12:22-29, where Christ gives the Parable of the lilies.
Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Most people look at this verse and automatically jump to the conclusion that we cannot justify Survivalist principles because they imply that we are worrying about tomorrow. The problem with this judgment is that these people misinterpret the principles of preparation as worry. The principles I am justifying are not those of worry, but those of preparation. Again, we come back to Proverbs 22:3, which tells us the wise man foresees danger and hides himself. He takes action. Yes, the Bible tells us to be dependent on God, but this does not absolve us from preparing for catastrophe or storing resources for hard times. Look at the example of Joseph. When God told Joseph there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, did Joseph just sit back and expect God to do the work? On the contrary, he immediately went to work, preparing for this time of hardship by storing food and taking action so he and his country would be ready for these seven years of famine. This is the same action Christians need to take when preparing for foreseeable catastrophes in the nearby future.

The final objection is that many people do not have the money to prepare for these events. There is no set amount on how much money you should spend: there is no percentage or complex formula to show what is enough or not. The principle I am advocating is a mindset, not a calculated amount. Only the person preparing can know what enough is. The only way a person can be certain they can know this is by doing research, and analyzing one’s budget to match a survival plan. The amount of preparation can only come from a knowledge gained through research and understanding of the world around us. Then will we know how to prepare for the future.

Nobody wants another Great Depression. Nobody wants another Hurricane Katrina. Nobody wants worldwide pandemic, food shortage, or any other catastrophes. Nevertheless, catastrophes are inevitable, no matter how much we despise them. God has placed these trials in our lives to fulfill His ultimate plan. However, that does not imply that we sit back and watch these events destroy us. There are many Biblical examples of physical preparation that coincide with dependence on God; examples that we need to follow. I pray that you do not just leave this room and keep on living your life as if nothing bad will happen to you, but rather, as Christians, step up to the examples set for us. Therefore, based on Biblical principles and the events of the past century, it is vital that we as Christians prepare for disasters.


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