So, like most of you, I have gotten very serious about surviving TEOTWAWKI. In fact, it can dominate my thought processes on a daily basis. From the very day I started reading Patriots, I realized that regardless of all the skills I learned in Montana growing up and the extensive survival training I learned in the military, as well as my subjection to countless “no-notice” survival exercises, I didn’t know squat about sustainable or long-term survival. Everything I had learned was focused on the relatively short term, say a few weeks at most. And, you know what? I loved every one of those exercises, no matter how miserable the conditions or the length of time in the wilderness. I especially loved the ones in which I was hunted by aggressors in “Escape & Evasion” scenarios. I loved it, just absolutely loved it!
Patriots was my first exposure to the survivalist or prepper culture and the concept of survival in a perpetual state of sustainment. In other words, survival in this context means indefinite or even infinite! My previous idea of survival was to meet the challenge, overcome odds, and then eventually be able brag about it while warming up near a cozy fire with a cold beer in my hand. That was my reward. Now, it’s not that I didn’t take survival seriously; I definitely did. However, to me, it was a means to an end. The reality of surviving TEOTWAWKI is that there is no end. It’s actually a start to a new way of life. (Also, there’s no reward of beer either, unless you brew it yourself!)
I already knew that, when considering survival, accumulation of knowledge and skill is the most important thing and that food, water, and other perishables, while important, will eventually be depleted. Only knowledge and skills will earn you more. JWR taught of things like heirloom seeds, Redoubt selection, and construction, et cetera. These were epiphanies to me and opened up the world of survival sustainment.
Was I a bit obsessed? You know it! Tell me you weren’t? I’m laughing as I write this, because anyone who has been bitten by the “prepper bug” and then tried to convey the concept to skeptical family members or a budget conscience wife certainly experienced angst. It didn’t help that prepper television shows were popular then and most of them were ridiculous. (Well, okay, maybe all of them were.) It certainly didn’t help my case with “Mama”. This is not an advertisement for Patriots or to assign blame to JWR for any stress I may have endured as a result of reading his book. (Early on, my wife would have taken her cast-iron skillet to him if she’d known his address. She thinks he’s cool now, though.) The fact is, the reason you’re reading this is because we all read that book. Patriots was life changing for me, and I’m sure it was for you. I am very grateful, and maybe someday I’ll be able to tell JWR in person. I just hope on that day we’re both standing with the sheep and not the goats!
So, it’s been quite a few years since reading Patriots and beginning the survivalist journey. Since then, several other books have impacted my life to include One Second After by Forstchen. (Unlike Patriots, these folks had no preparation.) Also, I read Scimitar Rising by Percynter, which aided in my Christian resolve to be a survivalist, but by far there is no better book to recommend than Patriots. It is common sensical, based on real expertise, and is authored by a man who lives it, not just preaches it. (By the way, I don’t like the “prepper” word or its connotation, so from this point on I’ll use survivalist.) Sustainable survival is a journey to be sure; it’s a way of thinking that transcends to a way of life. As a Christian, I’ve recognized this and reconciled it into my walk. At first I “shoe-horned” it in, making it fit with whatever Biblical scriptures I could find that supported my narrative. JWR helped with that, as he had resolved it in his heart and posted his beliefs on this site. If you haven’t read them, you should. However, while he found his peace and I thought I had, mine waned significantly with the advent of the 2016 election. No, I wasn’t one of the “crybabies” or “snowflakes”. It’s just the opposite actually. My side won! Though admittedly, I’m not sure yet what we’ve won. I’m hoping for a “Reagan” in our president-elect; I guess we’ll wait and see. I really don’t want to get into the politics here, except to say that in my almost six decades on this planet, I’ve witnessed the moral decay of society move rather quickly. The last decade seems to be moving exponentially in its pace, and it is my belief that the political left is the most responsible for this with the advancement of Progressive Socialism and Globalist ideologies. Specifically, it is the tenacious drive to remove Christian influence in society while replacing it with secular (read anti-Christian) values and behaviors. One way they accomplish this is through the “revision of history”. They’re changing history in the minds of our youth, all the while steering them away from foundational documents, like the Federalist Papers and even our own Constitution. I remember while I was in high school they changed the curriculum to remove “civics” and replaced it with “social studies”. At first, the change was subtle and the content was nearly identical, but over time the study of our governmental system and the ideals supporting it slowly evolved to a socialist agenda. Oh, and don’t get me started with Hollywood; you only need to YouTube 1950’s and 60’s television to see how fast that went in the toilet. I used to tell my kids that the one thing we learn from history is that we never seem to learn from it. However, in fairness, if they’re being taught a different history—a manufactured one—how can we blame them?
One of the hardest things for me to come to terms with was watching the country I served for 20 years in the military, a country that was founded on Christian principles and influences, slide into a Progressivism/Globalist cesspool. This was accentuated for me by the 2016 election, when it seemed the outcome would continue to result in more of the same or worse. Like most of us survivalists, I began to panic, buy more ammo, get more survival food, and prepare to bug out. I found myself angry most the time and became obsessed with the news. I watched as the country was being divided, both politically and racially. Civil unrest was, and still is, at a level where I felt I might be required to take up arms. I even considered joining some of the local militia groups. Bottom line: I was ready to pop somebody’s cork and was happy to do it! Now, I wouldn’t have initiated it, but I was definitely going to finish it if it started. That’s when I got a little tap on the shoulder…
The “tap” came in a still small voice. I was so caught up in everything that I needed relief. I needed peace. I needed direction. Where was it I found that before? Oh, yeah, in prayer. Christians know that voice; it goes something like this: “Hey, where have you been? You were praying every day, just a couple of months ago. Is there something bothering you? Can I help?” My response? Yeah well, it went something like this: “Oh thank God! I mean, thank you…Lord! Yes, I am really stressed and confused. I see what’s going on in the world and can’t help but think we’re in the end times…” And, being God, He let me ramble on until I got everything out. I ended it with, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. What should I do?” Then, I listened. It didn’t come right away; it usually doesn’t. But later, when I calmed down a bit, a thought slipped into my mind. It was of Jesus walking on the water and Peter going out to meet him. A lot of people believe that only Jesus walked on water, but Peter did too, for a while anyway. Then, he began to think about the impossible circumstances he was in, and he started to sink. It was only after he took his eyes off his circumstances and back on Jesus that Peter was lifted back on top of the water. That was the first thing God wanted me to do– get my mind off my circumstances and on Him. This opened my mind more, and I realized that I had asked my question in error. Instead of asking, “What should I do,” my question should have been, “Lord, what would you have me do?” Once I verbalized that, He got quiet, and I didn’t hear anymore. Now, for you Christians who’ve reached a level with God where He gets you to a place of contemplation and then leaves you hanging, it’s probably because you didn’t yet pick up on what he wanted to teach you. I was all excited because I got to the point where I asked the right question, and then I arrogantly expected an answer. But, it didn’t come, so I slipped back into “worry mode” for a few days before I forced myself to return to the last thing he wanted me to contemplate– “Lord, what would you have me do?”
First, I started looking at what I had been doing, then why I had been doing it, and finally to a place where I thought about how that served Him and what my purpose on earth is supposed to be. In the end, God wanted me to answer the question all along, because in doing so, I reinforced His Word in my heart. At that point, I realized that all my survival efforts had been focused on just that—survival. Is that why I’m here, just to survive? That’s why God put us here? What if it wasn’t in His plan for me to survive? What if I accumulate all this stuff for myself and my family and we all die in a car accident next week? I thought about JWR and what he directly conveyed as well as the actions of the characters in his books. There was charity and human kindness, a message, and a ministry. I’m not going to be so presumptuous to say for sure JWR resolved the question, “Lord, what would you have me do?” in exactly that way, but I’ll bet he had a similar conversation.
Once I answered the right question and resolved it in my heart, other worries surfaced and were resolved also. Well, mostly. God’s not done with me yet, and between you and me He’s got a lot more work to do, believe me. Some of my other worries center on this country and my love for it. I am a patriot, and I will fight to preserve it. I know many of you, if not all of you, feel the same way. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Regardless of how this president or any other turns out, the Bible is very clear; eventually, this world will decay to a point where some very bad things happen. Many will “run to the mountains” to survive, there will be a great famine and over a third of the people will perish. It’s Biblical. It’s gonna happen. There’s nothing you or I can do about it, except of course prepare to survive it. My personal belief is that the United States will not be a factor in the final battle and we will fold long before that day. There are some scholars that try to say obscure passages make reference to the contrary, but the bottom line is; we’re not mentioned. The reigning world power would be. I really hope I’m wrong, but even if I am, I want to leave you with one very important thought; you are a Christian before you are an American. If for any reason you find yourself in a position where you have to choose between God and country, you better pick God. That was harder to resolve in my heart than I thought it would be. I’ve conveyed that to my son, who is now active-duty military himself, and I know he struggles with it. That kid was a patriot from the womb.
Now, I know this wasn’t your typical “how to” article, but I would advocate that indeed it is one, because I believe that every Christian will find themselves at this juncture in their survivalist journey. I know that many of you have already identified with the feelings and emotions I described earlier, and I want you to know there is more to it. You are not meant to escape to a remote location and merely survive; you will have a purpose beyond this. You have a purpose now! Until you die, you are “the light of this world.”
Matthew 5:15 says, “…nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” As a survivalist; will you be a lamp under a basket, or will you have a plan to spread the light?
So let’s recap in a more “how to” fashion:
- Preparing for TEOTWAWKI is not a means to an end; rather, it is a beginning to a new way of life. Understand this precept and prepare based on it.
- Accumulation of knowledge and skills are what’s most important.
- They won’t likely be accessible after TEOTWAWKI.
- Your purpose could be passing these on to others or training them.
- Recognize that your obsession and sense of urgency can be a turn-off to others and actually accomplish the opposite of your intent.
- Sustainable survival is a journey, not a quick fix. There are certainly things you should do as soon as possible, like build a bug-out bag, but recognize your pocket book is not bottomless and that you can’t do everything all at once. Be patient but diligent; always move forward and have a plan. Your family is more likely to embrace your drive to be responsible rather than your obsession.
- Re-read Patriots again. Look for the Christian theme of benevolence in the midst of the chaos; it’s there. Some of it is blatant, like the accumulation of extra supplies that can be used for charitable purposes, while other themes are more subtle, like the behaviors of the characters when being faced with adversity. Think about this as you search for your own Christian purpose.
- Recognize that focusing on your circumstances will keep you from finding your resolve and your purpose, to say nothing of finding peace. Remember, God is in control. Believe that, and you will find peace.
- TEOTWAWKI hasn’t happened yet. You still have purpose before that happens; don’t lose sight of it. Keep God first!
- Continue to fight for your country and Christian values. You’re not supposed to give up and just wait for TEOTWAWKI. However, understand that if confronted with a choice, it’s “God before country”.
- Resolve your survivalist efforts with God. Ask the question, “Lord, what would you have me do?” His plan for your life won’t necessarily line up with your plan, but His is more important! If you’re stressed or obsessed, you probably haven’t done this correctly. This is the most important step!
- Finally, find and understand your purpose in a TEOTWAWKI scenario and prepare for it. As an example, you might be a doctor or dentist; imagine that after TEOTWAWKI there will not be universities to create more of you. There will be a huge need to pass on your knowledge; maybe you become a teacher. Apply the same logic to a blacksmith, botanist, midwife, mechanic, or even a pastor.
God has a purpose for you. Find out what it is and embrace it. Don’t focus on your circumstances; if it is truly God’s plan for you, then everything will fall into place and your loved ones will follow too. Don’t force it. Pray about it and listen.; He is faithful. Lastly know this; at the end of the day you are a Christian first and spreading the good news in a failing world is your ultimate purpose, now and in the future. Get out from under the basket and shine.