I’ll be blunt. I’ve rewritten the beginning of this article nearly 10 times now trying to lessen its uncomfortable impact. But it’s nearing 1:00pm already and I still haven’t successfully eliminated any discomfort the article may convey. So, I’m just going to say it like it is.
If you are smart, you will have a year’s supply of necessities for you and your family stored. But if you are wise, you will have extra supplies on hand for the refugees that you’ll inevitably encounter after a catastrophic event.
When I say refugees, I’m not talking about neighbors and family members who have willfully made no effort to prepare themselves—you know, those who think that they can just make a “Little Red Hen” play when things get tough. Whether you aid those individuals or not is a decision that is a very personal decision only you can make. (I’ve given you my two cents on this matter in a previous article.) When I say refugees, I’m referring to those who are displaced from their homes, their supplies etc. as a result of whatever disaster arises. It’s simply naïve of us to believe that we will only be aiding our own immediate family. Here are a few scenarios to get you thinking.
Scenario 1: A mandatory quarantine order is issued on Thanksgiving weekend while you have a house full of family and friends. No one is permitted to be out on the streets. What you have in your home is your survival and comfort supplies for those who find themselves stranded at a family gathering. (Hmm…for some this is a disaster in and of itself. :)).
Scenario 2: A tornado is heading for your area suddenly as you are out for a Sunday drive. Yes, you have a 72 hour kit in your car and yes, you have a year’s supply at home of necessities. But you are forced to immediately abandon your car and run for the nearest shelter—hopefully a person’s home with a basement. The home survives the impact for reasons only God knows. But the roads, power lines, and communication lines are destroyed in the wake of the tornado. Your automobile is somewhere out there…lying in a heap of course. Will the new friends you’ve made as a result of this disaster even have enough food and water for themselves as well as you sufficient to endure a few days or weeks while FEMA or the National Guard mobilizes for the clean-up and restoration of society?
In the event of an EMP, vehicles would be rendered useless and commuters would be stranded. Photo c/o losgatosobserver.com
Scenario 3: At 5:35 p.m. on a Friday night, the nation is hit with a fully debilitating electro-magnetic pulse. While you were fortunate enough to be in your home with your family in place, millions of others (some of whom you even know and love) are stranded right where they are. Think about it. Commuters, shoppers, night workers, expectant travelers at the airport, families enjoying dinner at a restaurant, parents and kids at a soccer game, etc. All of these people are stuck right where they are. Very few people have ever even conceived of a plan of what to do in such circumstances, let alone communicated it. So what do these people do? Do they begin traveling by foot? Will rampant crimes of unspeakable natures erupt? Yes. Will places of refuge be critical to the survival of all of these displaced souls? Absolutely.
We cannot assume that we will be comfy in our homes when a disaster hits. As all of you have do doubt experienced, trials never come at convenient times. I suspect that a major disaster such as I’ve described will be no different.
Countless narratives have been shared by the survivors of the World Trade Center attack. These narratives convey an almost super-human amount of charity, kindness, concern, and courage that was conveyed from one person to another as they struggled to escape the horror of the crumbling buildings. Not all who were affected by this event found this Christian side of them, but many, many did. I believe it’s impossible to squelch such an inclination in catastrophic types of situations. So what will you do when you encounter refugees from a disaster and you have nothing to offer them? Send them on their way empty handed? Perhaps you’ll be tempted to give of what little you have at the risk of putting your own family in mortal danger? Of course it’s simply not acceptable for us to shirk our duties to our own families in the name of helping others. Our forever responsibilities are to those whom we have been blessed with as a part of our family nucleus. But having to turn others away doesn’t sound like a comfortable moral dilemma to be in either, right? So, to put it simply, don’t put yourself in that position. Prepare for charitable preparedness now. Do so by asking yourself, “Do I have enough and to spare?”
It’s not common for us to see real life angels nowadays. But that doesn’t mean that the work of our Lord ceases to go forth. The lack of celestial angels on the earth doesn’t mean that lives are no longer blessed. Rather our lives are blessed through the angelic service of others around us. In order to avoid a stressful moral dilemma, we would do well to be prepared to be charitable as well. Prepared is the key word though—not just assuming that you will give charitably when you are confronted with just the right faces of desperation.
Charitable Preparedness: Giving blankets to girls at Allahuddin Orphanage in Afghanistan. Photo c/o thinkbigadventures.com
Even though it's just my husband and I in our home, why do I have extra square buckets laden with hygiene supplies? Why do I have pans large enough to prepare food for a small army? Why do I keep buying fleece when it gets drastically reduced at the local fabric store? Because I do not intend to live out a disaster with just my husband and I. I WILL BE FULLY PREPARED TO AID OTHERS WHEN NECESSARY. Can we give any more sincere thanks to a God who blesses us than when we clearly accept some stewardship for the care and concern of others? Are we more convincing in our prayers of gratitude when we actually back it up with actions of charitable preparedness? If I can give them a meal and send them on their way without compromising my own safety and survival then I will do so. If I can provide them with some tools (such as razors, soap, deodorant, toothpaste and a toothbrush) so that they feel more like a human being than an animal, I will do so. Besides, as I’ve pointed out previously, thanks to the use of coupons it costs me nothing anymore to obtain these kinds of items. So what excuse do I really have not to prepare to be charitable and mindful of the needs of others?
I know that this article on charitable preparedness may be a bit stressful to you as you’re probably working hard trying just to get your own needs met. But let me ask you. Do you think you would have some extra Divine assistance getting prepared for your own family if you also had the well-being of others in mind? I’m quite positive you wouldn’t be “doomed” in any way for approaching your preparedness efforts in this manner. I can personally attest that I KNOW that I have been blessed with “enough and to spare” because of this charitable preparedness approach. I have a different level of peace knowing that even if my home is obliterated, I have PROVEN myself willing to aid others in a disastrous scenario. As such I can confidently trust that the Lord will provide for me if ever I find myself a helpless refugee.
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