Ready or Not…!

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“Life is so dull.”

That’s what my co-worker, Rose, told me the other day after work. “The most exciting thing I do in life is to read your column each month,” she said. “And it’s the same for my sister, Tressie. She saves your articles, then gives a party for her lady friends at the retirement center…They read aloud about all your adventures—”

My friend stopped talking and looked at me. “You have so many adventures and I don’t have any! I’m wasting my life…trying to rush through the month so I can read about your next adventure.”

Oh dear. Somebody needs to get a life.

“Rose,” I said. “One of these days, your life isn’t going to be dull any more. It’s going to become very adventurous for you. Mark my words.” Rose just looked at me. I doubt she knew what I meant.

I left my workplace in a thoughtful frame of mind. Driving to Brownville, I parked at the boat ramp and sat there staring into the turbulent current of the Mighty MO. I knew that something needs to be said to the folks out there–all of the Tressies and Roses and the Lord-knows-who-else. All those people out there who are living in a cocoon of denial—who have no idea of the “adventures” awaiting them, just around the corner.

I left my car and went to sit down on the bank of the river. Taking out my notebook, I stared at the blank page. I needed to write things down. I needed to tell the truth, whether folks believed it or not.

Actually, I’m not a brave, adventurous soul like my friend, Rose, thinks I am. I’m really a ‘fraidy cat. For instance—when my friend, Bobby, took me for a fast ride on his motorcycle, I pounded on his back and screamed till he stopped.

Bobby was not awed by my bravery.

And what happened to me the other day was ridiculous. Crazy Vic somehow got locked in the hot foyer at church and nearly melted down in a panic-stricken puddle before someone came to the rescue.

My pastor was not impressed.

I thought about all this as I sat on the banks of the Mighty MO. In truth, I am not bold and adventurous and brave, at all. I’m just soft and coddled. .

I sighed and stared up the river at the old fashioned town of Brownville—a beautiful town full of historical old buildings. My great great grandparents were married there in 1855, then went to live on the same farmland where I live today. They lived creative, adventurous lives…They had to, because they never would’ve survived otherwise.

My grandparents didn’t have a mental meltdown when things went wrong. When there was little to eat, they scrounged up shriveled turnips and rutabagas from the cellar. When there was nothing to wear, they patched and stitched and mended. .

How would the average American stand up to such challenges, today?…That’s the question plaguing my mind as I sat on the banks of the Mighty MO.

The truth is—we wouldn’t fare well. Hurricane Katrina proved that.

In the face of widespread devastation, our society dissolves into hunger, chaos, and lawlessness. How many years—even decades—had experts predicted the arrival of a devastating hurricane and flood to New Orleans, and yet neither the government nor the citizens were prepared!

Katrina should’ve been a wake-up call to every American. We should’ve recognized our extreme vulnerability. But people just shrugged it off and said: “It can’t happen to me.”

I sat staring into the Missouri River at the odd turbulence that boiled up unexpectedly within its depths…Strange eruptions arising from unseen sources. I watched them warily. They were like the trouble brewing beneath the surface in America.

Our government officials have warned us for years of a coming crisis—a pandemic, or natural calamity, or massive terrorist strike. But we haven’t prepared. We can’t conceive of such a catastrophe. Our idea of a crisis is losing an e-mail in cyberspace somewhere, or running out of pretzels during a Superbowl game. A massive EMP strike that melts down the wiring of every computer and electronic device in our homes, stores, gas stations and workplace …?

It’s beyond our comprehension!

Our military has been stretched to the limit in the last few years, and so has our financial resources. China loans us countless billions to finance this Iraq war, and we can’t even pay the interest. Wall Street and the US economy face grave uncertainties which affect stock markets around the world.

What if events spiral out of control (like the Bible predicts they will)? What if the madman of North

Korea decides to launch a nuclear-armed missile? What if the crazed leader of Iran puts a chokehold on our oil flowing through the bottleneck of the Strait of Hormuz? He has already declared his willingness to start World War III. He’s already warned that he will soon strike our ally Israel to wipe her from the face of the earth.

The U.S. will be forced to retaliate. Our overstretched military will be embroiled in war on several fronts—something that our Generals have warned us against. We’ll be launched into the throes of World War III. And it could happen overnight.

Our abundant gas supply would dry up. Our lavishly-stocked store shelves would become barren. The repercussions would be catastrophic to modern culture…a coddled society without cellars and gardens and home-made remedies…A society dependant on government pensions and welfare and piped-in necessities. We aren’t adventurous, pioneers like our forefathers were. We’re pampered and coddled, and we’ll wilt in the face of a modern-day Alamo.

We have no Davy Crocketts, or Daniel Boones in our midst.

In spite of the obvious dangers, Americans have fallen into apathy—even Christians who know of the Bible’s dire predictions for our generation. We’ve heard the warnings of impending disaster for so long that we’re no longer stirred. We yawn and peruse the internet, and watch our favorite sit-coms. We continue napping in our cocoon of denial….We wallow in our It-can’t-happen-to-me mindset.

The voices of warning are growing louder. The few Paul Reveres that we have in our generation are shouting frantically, but who is listening?

ABC News just did a report on the regrouping of Al Qaeda and the increasing likelihood of a massive terrorist strike on U.S. soil. Other news services are beginning to echo the cry. Our officials are discussing bio-terrorism and a “spectacular terrorist strike unlike any we’ve ever seen.” Will it cause lawlessness amongst citizens like Katrina did in New Orleans? Will our government over-react and take away every freedom that Americans still possess? Will martial law prevail?

God has the answers to these questions. I don’t.

All I know is that we’ll never survive the coming calamity, without God’s help. Adventurous or not, we’re no match for terrorists’ bombs or a smallpox pandemic…But with the help of the Almighty, we will prevail.

I hope. I pray.

I stretched my stiff muscles, brushing the sand off my clothes—the clinging dirt from the banks of the Mighty MO…I stood staring at the water swirling at my feet.

Our ancestors learned to live in turbulent circumstances. They forged this very river with all its turbulence. They cleared the land with a strong sense of faith and adventure that carried them through every trial they faced.

And now we must rise to the challenge before us and prepare for the inevitable in a way that would make our forefathers proud. They wouldn’t want the land that they tamed to disintegrate into a nation of looting and lawlessness. They’d want us to calmly make contingency plans for our children and our children’s children. They planned ahead for us. We must do likewise.

And we will…with God’s help.

I got to my feet, and my notebook slid to the ground—its pages sprawling open in the dirt. I stood staring at the words I’d scribbled across the bottom of the page

“Remember the Alamo!
Remember September 11th.
Remember Katrina with all her calamity.
Prepare for trouble accordingly, because…
Ready or not, it will come!”

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