By Denis Korn
The time is appropriate to share an article written prior to Y2K. The title was the original title – Today it could be expanded to ask: Why Are So Many People of Diverse Communities Being Called to Prepare? While this was written 13 years ago to a Christian audience, it is as applicable today to any church, group, organization, web forum or family, as it was to Christians when I wrote it right before Y2K.
Most scenarios are the same, the issues surrounding preparedness are the same and the events and potential events are real and impending. I foresaw then that it wasn’t just about Y2K, but any unforeseen occurrence – and I knew then that Y2K was just a wake up call for more serious potential events yet to come years into the future – that future is with us now.
What follows is the original article except for current comments in brackets [ ]:
I have been aware of the desire of large numbers of born-again Christians to be spiritually and physically prepared for emergency situations, especially catastrophic ones, for 24 years now [37 years as of 2012] – and the numbers are growing as we reach the new millennium. Is this some kind of “millennium madness,” as some would suggest, or is something else happening?
It is my observation that basically 4 things are occurring:
First, many Christians are realizing that individual churches should provide for the most vulnerable and those in need, especially in time of emergency. They feel it is the churches’ responsibility to take a leadership role in promoting contingency planning education and action for its members. There is ample historical precedent for this perspective.
They feel that much time, effort and money is spent on spiritual issues and teaching activities (which is of course primary and essential), missions, and new facilities, but not enough on basic physical essentials such as food and daily necessities. There is a desire to make sure that church members, or anyone seeking the help of the church, such as the elderly, widows, disabled, single parents and the poor, are secure with the essentials during times of adversity and disaster – especially when primary sources of supplies may not be available.
Second, there is an overwhelming sense of impending trials and tribulations – whether it is the last days, Godly rebuke or some intense period of transition or wake up call to The Church and the world.
Potential problems can be triggered by a number of possible events: Y2K, war – and the rumors of war, scientific experimentation gone wrong, terrorism, earthquakes and other natural disasters, famine, pestilence, economic and technical instability, political upheaval, martial law, The New World Order – and the list goes on. [This short list was written in 1999 – except for the uncertainties of Y2K it appears the same scenarios are still with us, and with even more intensity and probability.] Any one event, let alone multiple events all at once can cause a dramatic and profound change in our society and our lifestyle.
It is self-evident that most of our population today in America is not prepared for nor accustomed to serious hardships. We have become comfortable and dependent rather than self-reliant and responsible. The availability of goods and services are dependant on so many interrelated factors, that a breakdown in just one area can have a significant impact on our daily life and the ability to provide for those depending upon us.
The Word instructs Christians to be wise, prudent and responsible and provide for their families. While spiritual trust in God is first and foremost, many are realizing the need for physical preparation is also essential in preparedness planning. There is a spiritual awakening and discernment of the realities and vulnerability of the times in which we live. Many are interpreting Biblical teaching as a call to action.
A classic example is the Old Testament account of Joseph [Gen 41: 34-36, 48-49] who stored provisions in the abundant times for the time of famine and great need. [When you continue reading in Genesis 47: 13-26 what occurred during the famine to the citizens of that time and the consequences of relying entirely upon the government is sobering – although they did not starve – you will be shaken by the implications of the loss of freedoms and the total dependency upon the government that are possible today.] Are we so naïve or arrogant as to believe that it could not happen in our country in our time?
Third, Christians feel a need to create community and associate with like-minded Christians who share a common perspective on the times and what actions to take. I am both amazed and dismayed at the polarization that is occurring in the church over the issue of Y2K and preparedness in general. [During Y2K this was also the case among many secular groups. With today’s current events and concerns, the same polarization is occurring in and out of The Church.]
Within churches and within families, people are branding those who are planning for emergencies – especially Y2K – as “wackos,” “nuts,” “extremists,” “suckers,” “stupid,” and those who supply emergency provisions as “opportunists,” “money hungry,” and “snake oil salesman.” The often harsh judgment on those preparing and supplying makes me wonder what is really going on here, and what are the greater implications of the whole matter. What can be wrong with rational Christians – or anyone for that matter – wanting to be prepared for any number of potential emergency scenarios?
Many Christians feel a “coming together and fellowship” with others who have prayed earnestly, studied the Bible, felt called and have concluded that being prepared is the action to take. There is mutual support, a deepening bond and a sense of security and peace of mind. There is the opportunity to contribute in the time of need, and the acknowledgement from one’s brothers and sisters that what you are doing is okay…and even proper.
Fourth, many Christians have informed themselves and evaluated the facts, read books, gone to conferences, watched videos, talked to friends, gone to church presentations, asked lots of questions, attended community meetings, been on the internet and concluded that Y2K and other potential problems have a real possibility of occurring. It can be as simple and logical as assessing the potential risks and taking appropriate action, compatible with one’s personal situation.
We can hope there are no problems or consequences and carry on, or we can study the vast amount of knowledgeable information from true experts and form educated opinions. We can weigh the reliability of news sources and use our common sense and rational judgment to come to reasonable conclusions. [While we are fortunate that nothing serious developed from Y2K and that the technical issues were addressed and resolved, it was very clear to many experts at the beginning of the fixing process that there was a real potential for a serious impact on the very interdependent network of delivering vital goods and services.]
This article was not written to convince anyone to run out and start planning. It was written to share and comment on what I have observed and feel is happening as it relates to preparing Christians. It remains, however, that a key question must be asked: What chance are you willing to take that any emergency or disaster will be so insignificant in your life that no action is required on your part?
I personally encourage everyone to pray, learn what the Word has to say to you personally about preparedness planning, and conscientiously study the events of the day, the times and the facts relating to Y2K and other potential emergency scenarios. Consider not only January 1, 2000, but the months and years to come.
These Scriptures very slightly among the different translations, however the core meaning is relevant to being prepared, being watchful, being responsible, sharing, service and trusting in the Lord.
- Genesis 41: 29-31, 34-36, 48-49, 53-57
- Consequences of Genesis 41 – Gen 47: 13-26
- Proverbs 22:3; 6:6-8; 3:5-6; 16:9
- Ecclesiastes 8:6-7
- 1 Timothy 5:8
- Luke 21: 34-36
- Isaiah 62:6; 32:6
- Jeremiah 6:17-19; 17:7-8
- Philippians 4: 6-8; 2: 3-4
- Ephesians 6:10-18; 5:15-17
- Matthew 24; 25: 1-4, 6-9, 13; 7:24-25
- Hosea 4:6a
- Acts 2: 44-47
- James 2: 14-17