By Kellene Bishop
In outlining the Ten Principles of Preparedness, I’ve lightly addressed the first Principle, that of Spiritual Preparedness. While I make no secret or apology of the fact that this is a website based on Christian fundamentals, I rarely take on the topic of strengthening our Spiritual Preparedness in this forum; I guess because I don’t see myself as any sizable authority on a matter that’s so personal. But recently it’s seems as if I’ve been barraged with widely divers and opposite factions declaring the proper methods of preparedness—“you have to have this” or “ you need to plan like this” or “you need to know how to do this”—and it feels like they are coming at me like a dirty bomb which threatens to not only overwhelm my desires to be self-sufficient, but perhaps even lull me to surrender to the mocking arguments of the masses who would declare “take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry.” But whenever I recognize that I’m becoming overwhelmed with it all, I remind myself to return to the first Principle of Preparedness, to set my heart and mind at ease again, and to renew my commitment to “the road less traveled.” I suspect that I’m not the only one who feels this way and so if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share with you the thoughts I had on one of my recent returns to what I call the Real Reality of Preparedness.
(If you endure my writings but do not share a belief in these Christian fundamentals, I trust that you will not dismiss all the rest that I have and will share which you may find otherwise beneficial in your pursuit of a self-sufficient life amidst the world’s contrasting view of reality.)
Many of us enjoy the Biblical accounts of the Noah and the Ark or Joseph in Egypt when it comes to strengthening our faith-filled resolve to be prepared for what the Lord has to come, but I recently found comfort exploring some not-so-common considerations of these two individuals.
Scientific conclusions, mathematical predictions, or examples from history can only go so far in guiding our preparedness efforts in the face of a trial because ultimately it is the strength of our faith—our belief—in what we can’t physically see or prove that will determine our ability to endure. Many have shared the wisdom that “it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark”, but I remind myself that it wasn’t even overcast when he began his assignment to build an unfathomable structure for its time that would benefit the world in an equally as unfathomable manner. Unlike us today, Noah had no reference—no collection of Biblical accounts of which he could reference in order to attempt to comprehend the magnitude of what he was to accomplish. To the best of my knowledge there wasn’t yet a veterinarian education program available to him, nor was there a master ship builder apprentice program—let alone one which would educate him in creating such a massive shelter. He certainly didn’t have the benefit of a high-powered public relations firm or mass media to package his message so that it was palatable—a message, I might add, that he was supposed to share when he wasn’t building the ark or gathering feed for hordes of animals. And yet in spite of this he accomplished his gargantuan task based on his view of reality that was very different from those around him. I refer to this as the Real Reality.
With Joseph in Egypt we have a similar set of unprecedented events. One minute he was in prison and the next he was responsible for saving the entire House of Israel from starvation—not just for 72 hours, but for an entire seven years! No I-pad to help track the inventory, no spreadsheets, heavy equipment, and no Costco’s were around to help him out with this task. Like Noah, he too entered uncharted territory of responsibility to carry out his tasks with a faith that not only he had to hold true but which he also had to convince the rest of the House of Israel to buy into so that he might take their crop surplus in order to prepare for a widespread famine. Can you imagine for a moment just how difficult it would be for people to believe in such a prophesied famine? How much did they have to trust Joseph, leaving the critical matter of feeding their family in the hands of a former prison inmate?? How inclined would people today be to buy into such a prediction especially in the 7th consecutive year of massive bumper crops? If such a thing were to happen today, not only would the majority of our fellowmen become complacent and take their food for granted after seven years straight of hearty bumper crops, but you can bet that by the 2nd year they would have leveraged any future crops as collateral in exchange for cash advances in order to pay for “agricultural improvements”, or build roads and bridges to nowhere. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Joseph or Noah to take on these tasks without the benefit of the camaraderie of thousands, if not millions of others who were required to perform these same duties which so many of us benefit from today. It’s not like they had the internet to assist them in finding forums of other like-minded individuals, let alone YouTube to show them how to accomplish their task. Seeing it this way I am struck by the fortitude of faith that these leaders had when the rest of the world’s “reality” was declared to be the direct opposite of the Lord’s prophesied reality.
Perhaps it was a wise blessing that neither Noah nor Joseph knew fully what was really in store for them far in advance of their accomplishments; they might have been inclined to give up or find excuses as to why they couldn’t accomplish their designated tasks. “Feed the House of Israel for seven years” or “get on a ship with smelly animals for an untold period of time” just might be enough to overwhelm me even on a good day. I’d expect that even the best of men would doubt the proposed reality of the situation not to mention the significance of their role in a master plan of God’s to save humanity, wouldn’t you? I have a tough enough time getting up for 9:00 a.m. church let alone “saving” the future of mankind.
Today we are faced with not only believing in the extensive warnings of unfathomable and unprecedented series of events (as disclosed by John the Revelator), but we’re also to believe that we will somehow survive them if we simply prepare. One third of the earth’s population dying, millions of lives lost in a brutal war, a cessation of buying and selling as we’ve known it all our lives, a halt of transportation, and a pandemic resulting in grotesque deaths preceded by rancor all over the earth. This isn’t exactly a polite topic of conversation to have at the dinner table let alone instances which a sane person would want to think about and it certainly isn’t readily accepted as a rational reality. But when you are willing to swallow the reality of all of these woes, the price of “being prepared” seems like a pretty good deal if it will get me a ticket to the VIP seating. (Is it just me or does a 50 pound bag of quinoa seem so insignificant in comparison to such events?) But if we are willing to accept these prophecies as the Real Reality, then not only do we need to muster the faith to believe in such instances, but we have to believe that we will endure such trials AND even help others to endure them as a result of our preparedness today. Yeah, I can understand why such a thought process would be overwhelming and difficult for most to wrap their minds around. I suspect that sometimes it almost feels a bit narcissistic to think that one might not only survive such events but also thrive in such circumstances. But you see, that’s where the faith comes in; it’s where we have to be strong enough to see things as they really are—the Real Reality—in order to not be deceived and swayed by the words of the masses of so-called experts and pay no attention to the fingers of scorn pointed at us. Instead we must” be believing” in the Lord’s reality. The Real Reality has always been at odds with what may seem to be and is certain to always be that way too. We’ve all read the book. We know how the story ends, right? The good guys are woefully outnumbered, but they still win. Truth is truth regardless of who believes it, right? You think enduring is tough? Sure it is, but remember that it’s just the beginning as we are also expected to even go to the extent of forgiving those persons who will spew insults and may even go to the extent of ostracizing us or attempting to falsely “report us” as guilty of committing some crime because our independent, preparedness behavior is so at odds with the rest of the world.
Yup, that’s a tall order to expect from anyone, but the good news is that He’s provided us abundantly with the tools and resources to step up to such expectations? We are surrounded by an abundance of resources and supplies that can even be obtained freely. We have the very real benefit of prayer and the scriptures to guide us, and we even have the benefit of today’s communication technology that enables us to connect and exchange thoughts so that we don’t have to feel so alone in our task.
I joked earlier about the lack of YouTube or the internet that these men lacked to assist them with their task, but what I also try to remember is that they had a superior Educator and Companion to navigate their uncharted territory, and so do we. I firmly believe that the task we are up against will be met with no less Assistance if we make sure to take time to strengthen that first Principle of Preparedness—that of Spiritual Preparedness, because as I stated earlier, there’s no scientific conclusion that will be able to explain away or rationalize what we are up against in these latter days. Sure there will be headlines and the occasional rumblings to lend some credence to what’s to come, but we can’t ever expect that our faith will be joined by the belief and acceptance of the masses—to be proven factual by science or official declaration. Instead, more important than firearms, food and first-aid will be the need for an unconquerable faith; and when such these great and terrible events begin to unfold in rapid succession our Spiritual Preparedness will be met with the ability to see the Real Reality.