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My family and I were surprised by the scope of the blizzard that affected much of the country, including us, which makes me wonder if there are more things we should be doing to get ready for emergencies like this. What does the Bible have to say about preparing for disasters? I doubt this is the last one I'll see!
Storms like the one that shut down the federal government for days are a great reminder that being prepared for disaster means getting ready for everything, from the next "Snowmageddon" to being ready to face the loss of your job.
While talk radio hosts have joked that the lobbyists for cows and chickens have conditioned us to run for eggs and milk at the first sign of a snowflake, not every emergency can be addressed with a run to the grocery store.
In Genesis 41, you can read about how God gave Joseph the interpretation for a dream that was troubling Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt. The dream foretold of a 7-year famine that was going to follow 7 prosperous years. Joseph advised that 20 percent of the country's resources should be saved during the good years for tough times. That's still good advice. In fact, I wrote a book about preparing to survive and even thrive in a difficult economy, called The S.A.L.T. Plan, to provide concrete tools to be ready based on Biblical truths.
The S.A.L.T. Plan follows the themes: Save, Asset Allocation, Liquidity, Truth, walking through strategies to be ready for emergencies.
First, eliminate all consumer debt, applying half of surplus income to debt and half toward a savings fund. One of the best ways to be ready for hard times is to have resources ready. That includes having food and supplies stored on hand. This is more easily accomplished if you have a good budget, and there are tools that can help.
Second, prepare for unemployment as well as stormy weather. Nobody knows when he or she may lose a job, but the state of the economy is a factor for how long you could be out of work.
Research indicates, "Americans who had the misfortune of losing their jobs during the height of the most recent recession in 2009 were more than four times as likely to end up out of work for a year or longer than those who lost their jobs during the comparatively good economy of 2007."
A wise saver has 18 months living expenses or 140% of current income in the bank. This is best accomplished by saving 20 percent of monthly income over 7 years, just like Joseph advised.
Still, the most important preparation any of us can make is to be prepared to meet the Lord. During "Snowmageddeon" someone on Facebook observed that when the weatherman says a storm is coming, people rush to buy groceries and get ready, but when we read in the Bible that Jesus is coming, they ignore it.
In Matthew 24, Jesus says, "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
So store up some dry goods for the next storm, put some savings in the bank, and keep your heart prepared to be ready as well to meet Jesus.
As Psalm 18:32 says, "It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure."