Ever hear the one about the country boy who took his city slicker pal hiking? The city boy had to use the bathroom and panicked because he was in the wilderness without toilet paper! Country boy said, “You’re filthy rich, just use one of your dollars.” City boy reappeared from the brush after several minutes shaking his head pitifully. Country boy asked, “What’s wrong? Didn’t you use a dollar like I told you?” “I sure did and it was terrible!” said the distraught city boy, “I used three quarters, two dimes, and a nickel.”
It was a shock how toilet paper flew off the shelves during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. I suppose if we unroll it, prepping reduces panic. Remember prepping for the Y-2K disaster when electronics switched over to 2000’s and we thought the world would fall apart? National Geographic aired a show called Doomsday Preppers which gave preparedness tips but hardcore survivalists didn’t seem to take it seriously. One episode was called “I hope I am crazy,” which I thought might be worth a watch, but then decided "nah, there’s no need."
I do, however, recognize the necessity of being prepared. A great thing about rural country folks is they have fortitude and a mindset of sustainability. I heard someone describe living through the Great Depression and saying while it was really hard, it wasn’t as devastating in the country as it was in the cities because country folk were mostly self-sufficient already. They gather firewood before the snow flies and put up hay in the heat of summer so there will be food for livestock when the pasture grass is no longer green. Working hard in large gardens all summer means having nutritious food available all year round within a few steps to the cellar. I remember one year blight took most of our beans and we barely had any, so the following year Mom planted double and prayed hard. Her prayers were answered and we canned 300 quarts of beans! We had green beans for supper almost every evening and never got tired of them.
Prayer is a vital part of preparedness. Before He went face to face with the devil in an epic battle of temptation, Jesus fasted, prayed, got baptized, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit then led Him into the desert where He was tempted. It’s reassuring how the Holy Spirit went with Him, knowing already the fight that was about to happen. And it’s encouraging to note through prayerful prep, temptation does NOT need to lead to failure. (Matt 4:1-11, Mark 1:9-13, Luke 4:1-13)
Like a soldier perfecting his/her training and physical prowess before battle, Jesus prepared His spirit with fasting and prayer. He likewise prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane to ready himself for the cross with prayers so earnest His sweat was like drops of blood…and an angel appeared to him and strengthened him. (Luke 22:39-46)
“Before” is a key word. Preparing means getting ready before something happens, so we need pray like crazy in calm times before we are faced with temptation or before the struggle hits (as well as when we’re in it). That prayer brings us closer into a relationship with our loving God and reduces panic.
Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” And so as we put toilet paper and breathing masks in the bug out bag, I say the stakes are too high not to fall to our knees and say a few words. Prayer is fruitful like wheelbarrows full of green beans! Now is the time to “amend the soil” and that’s no joke.
Footnote: Apologies for the harvest photo of Dad and me, as it’s unfair to ask anyone to be prepared for my baggy tie dyed fluorescent jumpsuit. (The 80’s weren’t ready for it either.)
Janet Cowger- Fliegel