IS IT TIME TO 'PREPARE'?
A few years ago a friend who'd moved from the West Coast to the Midwest to avoid disaster was perplexed and disturbed that at the same time as her move, we had relocated to Florida -- the zone for hurricanes. Didn't we know, she wondered (legitimately), the dangers of such storms -- especially what was looming in a special way in future events?
We told her we felt spiritually called to move (as it turned out, to the nation's oldest diocese) and were concerned, certainly, about the ocean and storms, but not overly preoccupied with it.
Soon after came the great hurricane year of 2004 -- we were brushed by four tropical systems! -- and at one point lost power for two days. We also saw how astonishingly quick food and everything else disappeared from the supermarket. The shelves were literally bare. Forget trying to get a meal at a restaurant or gas at the station. And this was only a place that was "brushed."
But meanwhile, when Hurricane Ike swept into Texas in 2008 and then took an unusual route up through the Midwest, plastering Missouri and Ohio, and flooding even parts of Chicago, our friend was out of power for a couple of weeks; there in the Midwest, she had more problems with a hurricane than we had.
Though no one knows what the future for Florida holds, the point: we are all susceptible. You can run but you can't hide. There is no telling what will affect who and where -- be it a solar storm, an epidemic, geological perturbations, astronomical events, cyclones, and so forth.
Do we believe the world is facing topsy-turvy events?
But we have to be so careful about becoming fearful and jumping the gun, and especially of setting times and dates, as we have constantly warned since inception of this site (fifteen years ago this week; 9/29/00).
A brilliant Christian writer named Jonathan Cahn wrote a book on the prophetic aspect of 9/11 (The Harbinger), but then extended matters into a follow-up book that decodes the Bible as well as Jewish tradition and arrives with the idea of "Shemitah," whereby every seven years there is a leveling of the financial playing field -- and often collapse of it. He saw it as coming with special vengeance this time around (the last was 2008); his dating implied that it would have occurred by now (despite some attempts at qualification); and now, backpedaling a bit, he says it did occur when the Chinese stock market lost much of its value a couple weeks ago.
Perhaps. Perhaps not. If so, it was certainly nothing close to the magnitude of the Shemitah-super-blood-moon-Rosh-Hashanah collapse that was implied (and gained such currency) in Evangelical circles.
None of this is to imply that we shouldn't be prepared, and the tumultuous times -- which promise to be even more tumultuous -- warrant profound consideration. There is probably something to the "Shemitah," yes, and there will be -- as he states -- a "great shaking" (others use expressions such as "great storm"). But premature and overly specific prophecy (see recent locutions) and thinking that the Lord has a human time-table we can decode with specificity can cause discredit to the very legitimate notion that God warns.
For He does.
And a showdown or shakedown or whatever one might want to label it -- a series of high-point events -- will come; that seems clearer every passing day; even, overdue.
Whether for regularly occurring events like ice storms, quakes, flooding, fires, drought, tornadoes, or cyclones that disrupt regions from time to time, or for a potential a mega-event (economic, military, or natural), it's always wise to be prepared, and we feel the Lord does prompt such in a special way in our times. It is something for each individual in every region of the world to pray about (your discernment is as good as ours). Our discernment is that one should always be vigilant (whether for regularly possible events, or something totally unusual) and it's the reason we opened an emergency-supply affiliate "store."
It's also the reason we're making available a splendid new book, Get Prepared Now, by Christian writers Michael T. Snyder and Barbara Fox: the most complete and well-written guide we have seen on what a typical family may want to have on hand in the event of emergency, complete with a discussion of the spiritual aspects and current financial picture of the Western world.
We disagree with Snyder on a number of issues (he's Christian, but not Catholic, and unfortunately, though not in this book, has occasionally made that all too obvious), and at times he may over-extend (as we all, at times, over-reach; he went big on dates for happenings in September). But he's an honest, well-educated author (law degree from the University of Florida, operator of a blog about what he sees as looming economic disaster) and he shows an impressive and often fascinating understanding of current economic/moral/societal threats.
In the book, which we highly recommend, is basically everything one needs to prepare as best as one can for the future (without specific knowledge of looming events).
We're in that hurricane zone. Is it time to prepare? It's always time to prepare.
For years we have stored rice, canned food, batteries, seeds, an emergency radio, candles, medical items, and the like, though surely we have not thought of nearly everything!
Is it right to prepare -- to be what some, with a bit of derogation, call a "prepper"?
Wood-burning stoves? Catchment systems? Ways to purify water? Cash? First-aid?
"Over the past decade I have heard from multitudes of Christians who received the Lord's call to prepare," he writes. "For some, it led to a move. For others, it involved a journey into preparedness to protect their loved ones, and still for others, their journey was centered on community involvement, so should a disaster strike, they will be better able to help their neighbors."
When Snyder received an e-mail accusing him, in his zeal, of violating Chapter 6 of Matthew (whereby the Lord describes how He provides, and that we shouldn't fear for want), he balanced this objection with the story of Noah. "The truth is that faith is not sitting on your couch and waiting for God to do everything for you," he argues. "The story of Noah is a perfect example of this. Some have referred to Noah as the very first 'prepper' in the Bible."
God warned Noah of what was coming, and Noah did build that boat. In fact, it was faith that made him believe in what he was told. God helps those who help themselves, goes the saying.
Snyder argues -- in details too extensive to enumerate here -- that "we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in human history." He believes a crisis with what are known as financial "derivatives" will cause a financial panic far worse than anything experienced in 2008 and perhaps even in the 1930s -- that "Wall Street has been transformed into the largest and wildest casino the world has ever seen." He discusses ways of protecting money and even ventures into an brief analysis of each state, grading them ("A," "B," "C," "D," and "F") based on current desirability in time of crisis.
As mentioned, we're against running for the hills, but the discussion is fascinating! (Florida gets only a "C.") As he notes, a statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has pointed out that destroying just nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer "and the entire United States grid would be down for at least eighteen months, probably longer." That's a government statement. Even a few days could cause upheaval -- as many saw during Katrina. The average American only has enough food to live for three days.
We forget all the things that are dependent on electricity -- even pumping water and natural gas into our homes. Without electricity, he points out, there is no heat, no computer, no cell phone, no television, no radio, no ATM, no banking, no use of credit card, no refrigeration, and so on. Store things like rice and honey that last for many years without refrigeration.
Anyway, it's worth thinking -- but not becoming paranoid -- about.
Somewhere, there is a balance. Only the Holy Spirit can grant that.
Fear not, no, never. God watches over you.
But in so doing, He often prompts us on how to watch over ourselves.
(Next: some of the supplies he and his co-author, Barbara Fix, recommend)