Planning Ahead- Be Ready

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin

This will be a little different than my usual posts. And I want to preface it with the fact that I am not a conspiracy theorist or fear-monger, nor do I think we need to be overly concerned with the potential of pandemic with this coronavirus outbreak. But I am a realist and I do believe in being prepared for an emergency situation. 
The community in which I live, over the last ten years has faced a few of its own emergency situations where we lost a major utility for over a week. (And you may know from following me, that my neighborhood seems to especially attract a utility breakdown almost monthly). Due to a derecho that came through, we lost power for over a week. Generators were impossible to get (we’re talking zero within hundreds of miles). For days, gas and supplies were hard to obtain because stores didn’t have power either. Just a year and a half later, we had a local chemical leak into our water system just upstream from our water provider. We were without use of usable water for over a week. Bottled water flew off the shelves. The water was contaminated that we couldn’t shower, wash dishes/laundry, or even flush toilets (for fear the chemical would corrode pipes). We “joke” that our town keeps us on our toes in preparation of the apocalypse. (It’s not even slightly funny when we lose our utilities so frequent anymore). 
But these emergencies set our household into motion of stocking and keeping supplies on hand, should a need arise (again). With the current coronavirus outbreak, we have upped our supplies. Not just in case of a potential quarantine, but also due to the possibility of lack of supplies (whether it be from imported goods backlogged, public fear if/when things get worse, etc.) [See the Department of Homeland Security for a basic disaster supply kit and access to other links for a Plan.] Again, the point of this post is to be helpful and get your mind into preparing for an emergency scenario.
[Preparing is a verb and requires action. You can’t passively prepare and you shouldn’t ignore the potential risk around you. These tips linked are for you to use to be proactive and preventative—not to cause panic or fear.]
First and foremost, the most important thing we can prepare is our hearts. Living in this world—pandemic/disaster or not—is nothing without Jesus. We should be praying for His intercession of this disease. Only He that creates can contain and destroy this if it be His will. [Though I don’t think we should discount that this disease is a warning or sign of future tribulations. But that is not what this post is about, so I digress.] Don’t allow this talk of pandemic consume your thoughts and bring you fear or anxiety (1 Peter 5:7). 

There is a fine line between being compulsive and being constructive.
Second, don’t think that making preparations for emergencies is the same as not trusting God. We can trust God to care for us and others, but we also have to trust that He knows more than we can comprehend. This disease, or any emergency situation could be Him interrupting our lives for His purpose. Trusting God and having supplies on hand in an emergency situation aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, God tells us to be prepared. (Proverbs 21:5). He calls us simple and fools if we don’t make such preparations (Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:12). God wants us to anticipate and prepare for our future needs (Proverbs 20:4). Any preparation is useless without God, but we still must do our part and prepare (Proverbs 21:31).
Third, the Bible highlights the ant (Proverbs 6:6-11) and how it prepares for future seasons (Proverbs 30:25). Granted, the ant example is regarding hard work and not being sluggish, however, you can also take into account the wisdom by gathering food in the summer for the winter. (To me, they are a disgusting creature, but if you read about ants, you can see just how incredibly responsible and organized they are!). 
Fourth, Jesus told the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)—a parable depicting preparing oneself for His return. In the parable, five [wise] bridesmaids/virgins had enough oil to keep their lamps lit for the duration, five [foolish] bridesmaids/virgins did not and ran out of oil. While this parable is about being spiritually prepared for the tribulation, it’s also a reminder not to wait until the last minute to prepare for any tribulation. [It also serves as a reminder not to wait until last minute to be spiritually committed to God—but again, that’s not what this post is about]. His ending words essentially were “Be alert!” and that message isn’t just for tribulation prep—it’s timeless.
Fifth, and my final point of preparation, in John 14:2-3, Jesus states that He was going to [Heaven] to ‘prepare a place for [us].’ Jesus, God incarnate, was leaving this world in order to ‘prepare’ our eternal home for us. If He had to take time to make preparations for our home, why do we think we don’t? 
Again, I can’t stress enough that this isn’t meant to cause any fear, (or even any eye rolling). This post isn’t necessarily contingent upon preparations for a pandemic or disaster. It’s just time fitting for what is being discussed in the news and what is going on worldwide, and the fear it’s already sparked. Be prepared. Be smart about your preparations. But in order to prepare for anything, you must first prepare your heart—or the rest is futile.
Be prepared. Be smart about your preparations. But in order to prepare for anything, you must first prepare your heart—or the rest is futile.

**See CDC resources regarding the coronavirus and emergency preparations.