At a recent weekend training from Adventist Community Services on Disaster Response, we were reminded of how devastating a disaster can be and how important it is to be prepared for one. Natural and manmade disasters are ever increasing in both quantity and intensity. We know from the Bible that these things are to be expected as our time on this Earth draws to a close, and we look forward to Christ’s second coming. As Adventists, we are also aware of the time of persecution that is to come just before Jesus appears. What do we do when these things occur?
In this country, there is a large community of “preppers” who specialize in survival and things like “bug-out bags”. They often have a lot of fun gear and impressive skills. These people range on the spectrum anywhere from wanting to be ready for natural disasters to fully expecting the complete collapse of civilization and the zombie apocalypse. Most focus entirely on the wellbeing of themselves and their family by any means necessary.
Sometimes, the more extreme ‘crazies’ get all the attention and impart a bad image to the rest, including those who are merely trying to be prudent. I remember a story I heard years ago, of an Adventist group in the Black Hills of South Dakota who made the news by needing to be located and extracted by a Search and Rescue team. What were they doing? They had gone on a Sabbath afternoon “Run to the hills” practice hike and had gotten lost. The news stories depicted them with some derision and humor. While I am briefly reminded of those that scoffed at Noah, it highlights the need to be both prepared, and smart about how we do it. Being prepared to evacuate your home and support yourself for several days is not the same as stockpiling food, ammo, and toilet paper in an underground bunker. So, what should an Adventist do?
- Be aware of the potential dangers and have a plan.
- Prepare a kit with the necessary tools and acquire the skills to evacuate and care for yourself and family for at least 72 hours.
- Take steps to mitigate the danger to your home such as wildfire safety zones, insurance, etc.
- Train and prepare ahead of time to help others in times of disaster. Even if you are not affected, others will be.
However, more important than your physical safety is your spiritual preparedness. Matthew 8:35, 36 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Interestingly, the plan of action is the same.
- By being in tune with God, we can be aware of the dangers surrounding us.
- We must equip ourselves with the tools and skills necessary for survival: The Bible, prayer, faith, and the Holy Spirit.
- Protecting our homes and families from worldly influences and creeping compromises.
- Taking the great commission seriously, we must work to save others.
Fortunately, God has made provision, not only for our spiritual salvation, but for our physical needs as well. Matthew 6:31-34a says “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”