A couple of months ago Jan and I flew to Phoenix,
Arizona. My flight was in the month of
May so Phoenix was already getting hot. I decided to wear shorts, flip flops and a tee shirt for the flight
anticipating a very warm arrival.
The flight from Medford, Oregon took us over some really
desolate countryside in Nevada and Arizona. As I began to daydream, I wondered what I would do if the airplane went
down and I somehow survived the crash. We
were flying over utter desolation. I realized I had no supplies and I was not
dressed to survive. I was wearing flip flops,
shorts and a tee shirt. Basically, I
would be toast in an emergency.
As I thought about this imaginary scenario, I realized how
foolish we have become in our Western culture to not be prepared to survive in
the various landscapes through which we travel. We assume the environment
inside our little insulated aluminum tubes called airplanes, flying high above
unfriendly terrain, is our reality. We assume that the deserts we cross will
never come inside our vehicles until we have car trouble and realize we forgot
to bring water.
Just last week I watched a TV show about “Preppers.” These are the people who have taken doomsday
preparation to a new neurotic level. I found myself mocking some of what they
were doing. In my pride, I failed to
realize that if the proverbial stuff ever did hit the fan they would appear a
whole lot smarter than I was giving them credit for.
I began to ask myself some questions like, “Am I prepared to
walk away from a spiritual crash site and navigate the emotionally challenging terrain
ahead?” “Have I worn spiritual flip
flops for my life-trip instead of hiking boots with Vibram soles that can endure
the hike back to reality?
As ridiculous as it would appear for any of us to think we
could walk away from a real-life wilderness crash site in a pair of flip flops,
it seems equally ridiculous to think that we could move through the coming
seasons of life with weak spiritual footwear and a lack of survival equipment.
As I write this, I think of the Church in the first century being
able to walk away from the spiritual crash sites of persecution, or the Reformers
who climbed out alive from the wreckage of the Reformation, or the church in
Uganda who walked away from the brutalizing presence of Idi Amin. In each of
these examples, amidst great pain and sorrow, they made it out of the
wilderness because they were spiritually prepared.
Recently, I learned a new phrase – “Go Bag.” A Go Bag is a small backpack filled with
enough supplies to get a person through the first three days of a catastrophe
like a hurricane, earthquake or flood, where you are cut off from normal supply
lines. In the Go Bag is packed your
food, water and survival supplies. The
Go Bag is placed in a known location and remains available to grab and go in case
of an emergency.
While is sounds like a smart idea to actually prepare one of
these Go Bags for what can occur naturally, it seems even wiser to have our
spiritual Go Bags ready for times of unexpected life-crisis.
As I began to think about what one might need in a spiritual
Go Bag I came up with the following list:
A practiced trust in God developed before a
Scripture intentionally hidden in our hearts.
A daily reliance on the supernatural power of
God’s Spirit to deliver.
A realization that no matter what happens, God
has a plan to save us.
This list for a spiritual Go Bag is short and simple. I have developed this list from a lifetime of a trial and error faith in times of crisis. If our spiritual Go Bags are packed and ready at all times, we will be
able to walk away from any relational or emotional crash site with the ability
to overcome the surrounding wilderness and survive the trek out to live another
day for the glory of God.