I saw a couple episodes of a show called “Doomsday Preppers.” Although I liked what I saw, I don’t know if it’s still on the air, and frankly don’t care enough to do a web search and find out.
The premise of the show is to dive into the world of those who are seriously preparing to survive through one or more of a seemingly endless array of nightmare scenarios, which all have the common feature of causing the thorough-going breakdown of society as we know it, along with accompanying riots, loss of power, and scarcity of food and water. In the prepper’s parlance, these are generically called “SHTF” scenarios, with SHTF meaning something smelly hitting the fan…or something like that. When the SHTF, you wanna be ready.
Cards on the table here, my wife and I put away a fair amount of food and supplies prior to Y2K. It’s easy to look back and sneer at that, but I’m convinced that one reason the S didn’t HTF back then is because a lot of people (notably economist and author, Dr. Gary North) were persistently vocal and coherent in their explanation of the danger that existed—vocal enough, far enough in advance, to spur governments and financial institutions into repairing their systems beforehand.
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I began watching Doomsday Preppers suspiciously, on guard for signs that the producers of the show were going to use these people as, basically, fascinating zoo animals. (And here we have the Domestic American Paranoid in his natural habitat, an underground gun storage bunker. Be very quiet and we might get lucky and see him inventory his bug-out bag!)
In which case, the whole thing would be about reassuring the average viewer that his own apathy is actually responsible sanity. Only those Bugs Bunny calls Maroons would obsess about protecting their families, after all. (Of course, the largest set of Doomsday Preppers that exist were never going to be interviewed or patted on their heads with an understanding smile. That set of preppers is the US Federal government. It’s undeniable that some very powerful people believe that the whirling F will be splattered with S at some point, soon.)
The good news is I don’t think the show treated the preppers badly. Not really. Not as bad as they easily might have. One or two episodes looked as if they went in search of people who would not come across as pillars of mental stability, but they were respectful even to them. At the end of each episode, they even took some time to grade out the subject’s preparations and suggest ways they might improve what they’re seeking to accomplish.
I opened this article by asking WWJD when the SHTF? I wasn’t merely aiming at cleverness there, although I am admittedly tickled at how that worked out.
WWJD has become a cultural fixture for abbreviating the question, “What would Jesus do?”
Let’s be honest: WWJD as a campaign had two goals. The surface-level goal was to get people to remember Christ in their decision-making. But the underlying, bottom-line goal was to hock a line of quasi-Christian trinkets and junk to the gullible. Or, to use the industry term: Crap. It must be admitted, the campaign was wildly successful with regard to the second objective; but not so much with the first.
What would Jesus do? Just a guess, but I’m betting He wouldn’t sell a 23 cent plastic bracelet to a teenage girl for eight bucks and then congratulate Himself for helping teach her how to make wise decisions.
(And we wonder why nobody respects Christianity anymore. Sometimes when I see or hear about SHTF, I envision the contents of a generic Christian book store being launched into a giant, industrial ventilation fan that would instantly chew it all into wood-chipper size bits. It makes me smile. But I digress.)
With the Federal gummint buying up ammunition, to arm militaristic agencies like the Social Security Administration; with FEMA preparing for Lord-knows-what, Lord-knows-where; with the US Army training specialists who would be able to oversee camps detaining domestic political prisoners; with our own President consistently coming down on the side of supporting jihadists world-over, and doing his level best to import them over here, it’s not unreasonable to ask how the simple, Christian citizen is supposed to view all this.
Surely the Christian has not been left alone to hunker down and simply hope for the best. Or worse, to do nothing while waiting for otherworldly rescue in the form of an in-the-nick-of-time snatching away to heaven.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe Christ will call the church up to meet Him in the air at His return. But what if Hal Lindsey is wrong and this isn’t the Terminal Generation, the “decade of decision?” Wait—I’m getting something in my earpiece from my producer—What? He was talking about the 1980’s when he wrote that stuff? [Cough, cough. Shuffling papers. Throat clearing.]
Moving right along, I mean what if a whole pack (as in wolf-pack) of your teachers has been wrong about the timing of the End of the World, the ultimate SHTF scenario? What if you and I might actually have to live through a few smaller SHTF deals before that big one comes along? I wonder if any of the Christians who were tortured and killed in the mall in Kenya started their last day by comforting themselves with the thought that they’d be Raptured before things really got bad.
WWJD if He was confronted with a SHTF scenario? Thankfully, we don’t have to wonder. I want to call your attention to three specific Bible stories.
1. The flood of Noah, starting in Genesis 6. I believe this was a worldwide flood for a simple reason: God gave Noah 120 years advance notice. Rather than go through building a giant boat, 120 years is plenty of time to simply grab your family and move. A worldwide flood qualifies as a SHTF scenario. What God did in the face of that event was warn Noah. His warning included the instruction to get ready, so that he might preserve his own life and his family’s. In the intervening time, while ark construction was in progress, that would have been a great time to send in the Doomsday Preppers crew to do an episode on the crazy old man and his big boat.
2. The seven years of famine during the life of Joseph and the patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 41 and following.) Severe food shortage is a SHTF scenario for sure. Again, God provided a warning to His own, along with some fairly detailed instructions about what to do to prepare for it, seven years in advance. It may have made the whole nation of Egypt a laughing stock to its neighbors, as they went about building huge grain storage barns and rationing food in the middle of seven glorious years of wealth and abundant food all over the world. However, Egypt looked pretty smart, and grew very wealthy, as a result a little later.
3. Jesus’ teaching called the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24. He foresaw a SHTF scenario in the lives of His followers, which He specified would appear in their own generation (verse 34.) That scenario was the invasion of Jerusalem by Rome, culminating in the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. He gave them instructions that allowed them to survive. He prepped them for this coming day of doom with knowledge. Specifically, He gave them a sign to look for, at which they were instructed not even to come down from the rooftops, but to abandon the city immediately (Matthew 24:15-18.) History records that the Christians did in fact flee Jerusalem when they saw the city surrounded by armies (Luke 21:20,) walking from rooftop to rooftop if need be, as they had been instructed. As a result, we do not believe that even a single Christian perished in the subsequent siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus prepared His own.
There is a simple, common sense concept that runs through all three of these stories. That concept was stated well by Solomon. “The prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3, 27:12)
WWJD in the face of a SHTF situation? He would do what He always did: He would warn His people and give them the wisdom to prepare themselves.
Friends, if I may humbly say so, you can receive ample warning, ample enough to leave you without excuse, without even leaving this website. By the sheer grace of our God, the S has not HTF in a big way in America yet. But I am reminded of Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, in which he pictured the ignorant and apathetic sinner as a spider hanging on a single, slender thread of gossamer over a raging fire; and at any moment, an errant flame might send up a tiny tongue to lick that thread and all would be lost.
God has given a great deal of time for warning, America. Call me a crazy old man (like Noah), but I think that window is closing. WWJD? He might send me to urge you to CYA.
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