Has anyone noticed the crazy acceleration of events in the last few months? Seriously! If in the last few years the world looked like it was coming unglued, today, there can be no doubt. Much like an engine over revving, the faster/farther we go, the smaller the hiccup required to cause this spinning top to completely explode!
Events in the US alone indicate that this economy/culture/society are on the brink of disaster, but Europe is in total meltdown and the Mideast continues to boil at an ever more violent rate.
While discussing current events with a close friend, I made the comment, ‘You know, survival takes a three legged stool?’ An interesting discussion ensued.
Honestly, none of us are prepared, though many have a good start. Here are some thoughts that each of us need to consider.
It has been years ago, but I learned a lot about extremely difficult times by going through, surviving would be a better term, the US Army Ranger School. I had been through progressively tougher life experiences including back to back deployments to Korea (Camp Casey, near the DMZ) and months in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, but nothing really prepared me for Ranger School. I had heard stories and thought I knew what to expect, but again, nothing really prepared me. Here are a couple different links…
The Great Tribulation or End Times, by even the shortest estimates of one year, is considerably longer than Ranger School and I expect, more difficult in many respects. The similarities, however are many with one significant additional element. The washout rate in Ranger School was about 75-80% when I went through, and it may well be the same for the saints in the End Times.
I would describe my thoughts on survival, even thriving, as requiring three major ‘legs,’ or, we can picture a three legged stool. As we look at each ‘leg’ you will quickly surmise that you, and most people, have one strength with a second leg that needs work while the third leg may languish quite a bit. My hope, as we discuss, is that you will be both encouraged and challenged! May this goad all of us to press in to be better prepared.
Bottom-line up front: The three legs of preparedness are Physical, Mental and Spiritual. Two out of three may seem to be good, but a two-legged stool cannot stand on its own. (More on this in a minute.)
Like a three legged stool, we need development in each of these areas. If we picture strength in one area as a long leg and weakness in another area as a short leg, we quickly see that there can be a serious lack of balance in a person’s life. Here are some brief thoughts on each type/leg of preparedness.
Physical Preparation: Let’s face it, most first world cultures, and particularly the American culture, are lethargic and sedentary. Exacerbated by rather unhealthy diets, most from those cultures are medically obese. Yet, any real discussion of potential scenarios in the End Times or even in simple economic breakdown will quickly require a significant level of physical fitness if only to walk to town to pickup a few items from the store or to till the garden. A ‘Second Exodus,’ would require not only being able to walk miles a day, but also carry a loaded pack or two.
If for no other reason than to achieve and maintain good health, we need to be walking several miles a day and performing physical tasks that build strength, flexibility and endurance. Good physical health is a necessity, but provides health benefits that affect our mental and spiritual well-being!
Mental Preparation: Often overlooked, mental preparation is very important. Most assume, and wrongly, that they’ll be just fine, but turn off their air conditioning for a few hours and see what happens. Mental preparedness is not a mystery so much as a discipline. Learning to patiently endure extremely challenging situations without losing hope or cool is not easily or quickly done. We are creatures that reflexively avoid pain/discomfort and seek pleasure/comfort. Mental toughness begins when we can embrace discomfort and it becomes valuable when we can, in a slightly twisted way, enjoy discomfort.
There are so many ways to develop mental toughness; none are quick or easy. Most begin with being in or placing ourselves in difficult situations that make us uncomfortable. Simple is the discomfort of camping. Fasting is a mental discipline. Hard physical workouts (double bonus) aid in developing mental toughness to keep going when ones mind desires rest. Often, our Father walks us through tough situations to develop toughness and reliance on Him and we seek ways to relieve the stress instead of learning mental (and spiritual) lessons being offered.
Spiritual Preparation: Most falsely believe spiritual preparation is the only area of preparation they need. “If I just believe, God’ll take care of my marshmallow brain and cottage cheese legs…” True, spiritual preparation is probably the most important of the three legs, but God expects us to do more than sit on our laurels and have Him wait on our every need. Witness Hebrews 11. Abel sacrificed. Enoch walked. Noah built. Abraham crossed over. Etc. While all had faith, they all DID.
Spiritual preparation involves learning to hear His voice, walking in obedience, knowing and doing the Scriptures, etc. Like physical and mental preparedness, this takes time and personal effort. None of these come easy or magically become a part of who we are. They take work.
So, in a general overview, we see there are three legs or three parts to being prepared, all very significant. Truthfully, none of us is balanced in our preparation and by Divine plan, I think, we each have areas of strength and areas of weakness. We should each be developing our strengths and working diligently to shore up weaknesses.
It occurs to me as I offer these few thoughts that Abba’s plan and design in the End Times is not for a bunch of ‘Lone Ranger’ types, but a Body, a People, a Nation to emerge. That should lead us quickly to an understanding that through community and teamwork we can support and help one another. Imagine, if you will, a room that has dozens of stools hobbled by legs of unequal length, some so badly that they can’t stand on their own. Imagine, though, that we were to prop them all against each other, and suddenly, each is supporting or holding another up. Now, even as we diligently prepare individually, we can see that corporately we are much more likely to stand!
In one sense, we need to be preparing ourselves, but we need to be preparing community and teamwork. Our personal preparation now has much greater significance because others are depending on us, just as we are dependent on them. (A warning lest we think we can be lazy in our preparation because we think others will carry us: Father knows our heart and lack of diligence will be exposed and disciplined, maybe severely!)
So, those are a few quick thoughts to prompt some self assessment and introspection as well as prod us toward building bridges with others. We need to be intentional about community and connection. That is what makes a ‘people.’