Gil and I recently watched an episode of Decoded on the History Channel which dealt with the Mayan prophecies about 2012. I thought it would be focused on the prophecies themselves, but actually the people on the show interviewed survival experts, and ecologists as well, discussing how the Mayans apparently predicted widespread natural disasters as part of the end of the time cycle that would come in late 2012. It was actually pretty scary: Even though I am hesitant to believe the doomsday proclamations of climate change proponents (let alone those of the Mayans), you don't have be a news junkie to note that natural disasters have been occurring a lot in the past few years. Since I've always been an urbanite, I am pretty sure that my survival skills are minimal at best. If a worldwide disaster strikes, I'm probably not going to last for long.
To tell the truth, all this “end of the world” stuff really has the power to leave me terrified. When I was in my first year of university (before I was a Christian), I had to read a section of Revelation for one of my classes, and I remember being petrified at what I was reading, even though I didn't think I believed in it. Most of the Eschatology teaching that I've received has been pre-millienial and pre-tribulationist, so I would say that's where my beliefs are, but I'm in no way well-read on the matter. And even if I don't have to live through the tribulation, Jesus talked about earthquakes and natural disasters leading up to the end, and other passages discuss the earth being under the curse (see Romans 8), so there is no guarantee that I will be spared the experience of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and the like. When I think about it, my first instinct is to put my head into the sand and ignore the issue. Surely, these survivalists interviewed are a bit crazy. Surely, natural disasters happen to other people, in places with no infrastructure, and won't happen to ME. I'm not afraid of dying, but rather of living in a post-disaster world, where people are fighting for what resources are left. I'm afraid of Lord of the Flies or the Chrysalids, or Mad Max becoming a reality. (Thank you, Grade 9 English class; seriously, we covered all of these subjects and it's a wonder we didn't all end up in therapy.) Now that I'm married and that we anticipate having a family within the next few years, those fears are even scarier: It's one thing to navigate a disaster alone, but with others depending on me, it becomes even more nightmare-ish.
Am I the only one stressing about this? Maybe I'm just one of the last naive ones who hasn't yet got a plan for if/when it happens. So, after some thinking and praying, here's where I'm moving forward:
1) Preparation. Gil and I had a little talk after watching TV, and decided that it would be prudent to have some supplies when we move into the new house. I'm not talking about a bunker, but it's wise to have a few weeks' worth of water and canned goods in case of an emergency. He was in Montreal during the 1998 ice storm, and I experienced an almost-hurricane in Florida once, so we both know that even if we don't think The End is coming soon, we ought to be ready in case of a smaller emergency.
2) Sustainability. I've been thinking a lot lately about ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I'm not doing anything drastic, but I think that small changes can make an impact on how I steward the earth, and how I view it. If I know how to make bread myself, that will be helpful if for some reason, we are unable to get to a store or if economic issues mean that our food supply to stores is diminished. If we cloth diaper our future kids (which I really really want to do), that will mean that we would not be left diaper-less if another ice storm or a hurricane kept us indoors for several days. (I guess that's assuming we are able to heat up water to wash them...)
3) Faith. Most importantly, I am reminded to trust in God. That morning's reading was from Exodus 3, and that's what came back to me while I was watching Decoded. God is the great I AM. He knew the right time to send Joseph to Egypt so that he could stockpile food in advance of the famine. He knew the right time to take the Israelites out of Egypt. He knew how to arrange things so that Moses could be saved by the Pharaoh's daughter and nursed by his own mother, and when to call Moses to go back to his people. He knows everything, and even if hard times are ahead, I can trust that He will help me get through them.
What about you? Are you prepared for the worst? Am I the only one worrying about these things?
God said to Moses, "I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, 'I-AM sent me to you.'"