Waiting for the Zombie, Bug-Out-Bag Apocalypse?
Terry L. Craig
© 2012, 2016
Way back when I was little, there was a prevalent fear (fueled by the government no less) of being nuked by the Russians. There were actually public service ads that showed people how to “duck and cover” if there were bombs dropping nearby. (As if hiding under a desk or a mattress would ensure your safety in a nuclear attack.)
A few decades later, there was a sweep of survivalism within some Christian circles and people were storing all sorts of stuff. Eventually, a much larger group of Christians got all caught up in "pretrib rapture" mania, saying that—any moment—they could be swept up into the skies by Jesus. At the peak of the movement (about fifteen years ago) the Left Behind book series was blowing through all sorts of records for Christian fiction and there were movies and bumper stickers and . . . goodness knows what all else. It was a sort of un-survivalism movement. (Despite all the hype among pretribbers, though, I’m guessing close to 99% of those who claim “He could come any minute!” don’t live in any way that reflects this as an actual belief on their part . . . unless we’re comparing them to people on their last day on the job when they hang out with their office friends and do nothing while they wait for the boss to cut them their final check. In that case, maybe they DO think Jesus is coming any minute.)
In recent times, a growing number of people of all stripes are again getting the sinking feeling that, as bad as things are, they are probably going to get a lot worse. Given the poisonous political rhetoric that's ramping up tensions (between races, cultures, and classes) in the US, the growing threat of multinational conflicts, and the proliferation of conspiracy theories regarding everything from chemtrails to genetically altered mosquitoes . . . there are now thousands of books and websites and videos on the subject of survival. How to make soap, how to avoid poisonous plants, how to build a stove from a wood stump. It’s really impressive to see how creative people have gotten with their ideas.
But, suppose the worst happens next Friday. You’ve got your books—all in paper copies I hope, because there would be no more internet! You’ve got stored food, a source of water, bandages, etc., etc., etc. But what happens when you run out?
And what if you are reading this and you realize you only have a bag of chips and half a jar of peanut butter in the cupboard? What if you have neither the means NOR the option to buy or make or store what everyone says you MUST have? What if one of your children requires a continuous supply of medicine? What if you care for a disabled parent? What if you have a spouse who is in prison? . . . What if you’ve NEVER felt the Lord leading you to buy a cabin in Montana? What if?
Survival plans make perfect sense to people who think they’re being led to them. And some of these people may actually have been led in survival plans by the Lord Himself. The rest do it because they're scared and it gives them some sense of having control over their fate. But should fear be what guides us to store, to move . . . to vote? Should we keep staring into the darkness to catch sight of the next bad thing that might be coming our way?
People assume that, because I wrote a trilogy about the world in the "Last Days" that I'm into political intrigues, conspiracy theories, and/or doomsday prepping. I'm none of the above. Although the plot line of the Fellowship of the Mystery trilogy contains intrigues and some dire scenarios, it's not about conspiracies, timing, or survival—it's about faith in the midst of whatever may happen. My belief is that you can store stuff up, but if it came to times of deep crisis, don't you think people will be on the prowl for those they've known were "doomsday preppers?" You could take all your stuff and move to a wilderness where you think you'll be safe . . . and still die in a forest fire or a random volcano. Regardless of wealth, preparation, or lack thereof, if your hope isn't in the Lord, if your eyes aren’t on Jesus and you’re not listening for His voice, the other things you've done won't make a lick of difference in eternity.
What each of us needs more than a bunker in the woods is faith. Not the delusional, wishful thinking of people who’ve never leaned upon the arm of the Beloved, yet solemnly pledge that they’ll give Him 10% if they win the lottery. Not the conviction of someone who stacks it away, but won’t share a crumb with a neighbor in need. Not the one whose confidence in their own physical prowess leads them to look down on those less fit.
There is a passage of scripture where a “rich young ruler” comes to Jesus and says he wants to be a disciple. In the passage, the young man says he’s kept the Jewish law . . . and it also says Jesus loved him. Jesus tells the young man, “You lack one thing. Sell all you have, give it to the poor, and then come follow me.” The young man is disheartened and leaves.
The question that occurs to me is: Was Jesus calling his bluff? Was this man walking around telling himself he was living for God . . . when actually, his “faith” was dependent on his wealth? You see, I don’t think Jesus is calling everyone to poverty, but willingness to listen and to care about others today. He sees these as measures of our faith—the kind of faith that trusts God with the little things now—and will be entrusted with bigger things tomorrow. The kind of faith Jesus is looking for isn’t focused on figuring out the plans of darkness, getting raptured (escape) or surviving in a cave during a nuclear winter . . . it’s the faith it takes to walk with Christ each day we’re here. It's is more important than anything you can store, any scenario you could plan. It’s the kind of faith the rich young ruler didn’t have on the day he asked what he must do to follow Jesus.
What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? (Mark 8:36 NIV)
Terry L. Craig
© 2012, 2016
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