As many of you already know I’m sort-of-not-exactly a “survivalist.” Whew, there I’ve said it out loud! I’m not dyed-in-the-wool gun-totin’ but I do believe in keeping enough food and other necessities stored back in case “something happens.” For me, it’s just…if something happens. Real survivalists call it TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). The situation in Haiti has brought my beliefs into a clearer focus for me. Scripture uses the word prepare in a lot of different cases: in Exodus the Jewish people had to take unleavened bread because they weren’t prepared for a journey; all through the Old Testament the Hebrew people prepared burnt offerings for the Lord; in Joshua they prepared for war; Samuel begged the people to prepare their hearts for God; David prepared a place for the Ark of God; Esther prepared herself for talking to the king by prayer and fasting; Psalms tells us that God prepares a table before us; and Proverbs even tells us that the ants prepare their food in the summer to get ready for the winter! The common thread running through every instance where I found “prepare” in the Bible is the essence of the word itself: work ahead to be ready for the future.
Spiritually we get ready for Heaven. We go to church and worship, we pray, we study the Scriptures, we try to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and serve others. And yet we tend to ignore part of what the Bible says (because we don’t like to think about it)…hard times are coming. Jesus himself said there would be wars and rumors of wars…nation shall rise against nation…famines…pestilences…earthquakes. He laid it on the line for us. Where you live will likely dictate what kind of hard times you might have to face before He comes again. Some of you will endure in your lifetime hurricanes, floods, tornados, ice storms, terrorist attacks, pandemics, job loss… and I could go on but you understand what I’m saying. Are you ready to get through those hard times? Are you prepared to take care of your family if one of those things happens?
As women I think we are uniquely charged and uniquely equipped to care for our families. It helps if we have a husband who enables us to do that but even if you’re living alone you can do it for yourself. If you’re a single parent you’re even more responsible to make those preparations. It’s not always easy; friends and family don’t always understand and sometimes they make fun of me when I buy a case of chicken broth at a time when it’s on sale. They just laugh and say, “I’m coming to your house if anything happens!” Which is exactly my point. As a woman, and as the mother and grandmother, in hard times my children and grandchildren will look to me and I want to be ready.
So let’s get down to the meat of it…what am I doing? You know we’re retired and that’s a limited income so I buy a little each month. I make my money go a long way because I’m diligent about searching for and using coupons during sales. It takes me a couple of hours twice a week to print, clip, sort and file coupons, but last year I turned in nearly $3,000 worth. Frankly I’d rather be sewing or reading or sitting on the deck, but that won’t feed my family. I don’t buy things we don’t eat just because we have a coupon-that would be stupid. And I never buy any product without checking the expiration date on it. Not even bread. I can and I freeze. And I write the expiration date or canning date on everything that goes in my pantry so I can rotate those items. If the electricity goes out for a long period of time I’ll have to cook up everything in there and can it, but I’ve taught myself how to do that. I’ve even canned meat. I found out this week that you can coat blocks of cheese with paraffin wax and it will keep on the shelf for months! I haven’t tried it but I will. It does age and get sharper so it’s best to start with very mild cheese by the way. And I watch the dates on my stuff closely – if it gets a month away from the expiration date and I don’t think we’ll be using that product for several months (stuff is good way beyond those dates!) I take it to the homeless shelter. They can’t use it if the expiration date has expired but by doing this I can give more and spend less doing it than I used to.
And it’s not just food and water that you need. (By the way, how will you purify water if there’s none coming out of your faucet?). You need medications. You need things like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, immodium, laxatives, cold medicines, heartburn medicine, bandages, alcohol, peroxide, antibiotic ointment. You get the picture. You need toilet paper for heavens sake! (and feminine products). What if your stove doesn’t work – how will you cook? Can you build and start a fire in your backyard? Got any wood to do it with? And what if the hard times last a long time? Can you grow a garden? Do you have seeds? Tools?
We’ve all heard the old saying that God gives the birds their food but He doesn’t throw it into the nest. Well folks, take that one to the bank. He expects us to listen to what He’s told us and do what it takes to prepare for that. If we can’t take care of ourselves how can we take care of others? At my house, I’m getting ready. My husband doesn’t really buy into it but he doesn’t hinder me so sometimes it’s a little hard but doable. But I’m forging ahead! There’s a song we sang in church a few weeks ago – don’t know the name but some of the words were “People get ready, Jesus is coming.” I’m getting ready. What about you?