How Do You Prepare For This?


The Best Preparation Is Living A Healthy Life

by Eric Elkin

See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me…But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?
— Malachi 3:1ff

An earthquake in Anchorage, Alaska should not come as any big surprise for people living in the area. The region is one of the world’s most active regarding seismic activity. Yet, even for veterans of earthquakes, it must come as somewhat of a surprise. 

Scientists do not know how to predict earthquakes. Nor can they predict their impact on buildings, roadways and large bodies of water. I have never experienced an earthquake, but I think if the walls of a building started shaking, I would wonder how long it would be able to stand. Even if the building was built to withstand an earthquake, how do you know if the construction designs were accurate?

The images from the recent earthquake in Anchorage that caught my attention were of collapsed roadways. The concrete and asphalt surfaces were torn like paper. The earth below the surface was ripped apart forming columns of dirt with large crevices in between. My attention was drawn to the vehicles stranded on these roads. How do prepare for such an incident?

Earthquakes are not like hurricanes or tornadoes. There are no atmospheric conditions to warn the people they are coming. I doubt any news outlet in Anchorage warned people commuting to work, “Be careful this morning, there is an 80% chance of an earthquake.” In my head, the cars stranded on these torn up roadways had to be driving like any person on a morning commute; a little distracted and faster than the posted speed limit.

There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control.
We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts,
and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry,
the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help.
— Jan Schakowsky

Preparing for earthquakes is like preparing for the second coming of Christ. No one knows when it will come, and few know what to do to prepare for it. And, you can only remain vigilante for so long. Truthfully, I never really consider Christ’s second coming, not even during the season of Advent when I’m supposed to. If God is love and Christ died to save sinners, why worry? I enjoy being loved and I’m pretty good at sinning.

I worry more about preparing for the special moments in life. Will I be too consumed with worry about minor things and end up missing something profound? The Saturday after Thanksgiving, our family makes lefse for Christmas. Sometimes, I get so caught up about the lefse turning out, that I forget to enjoy the time with my adult children. 

The Anchorage Daily News website posted a link on its page covering the event. The link took you to an article about how to cope with the anxiety after experiencing an earthquake. Interestingly, the remedy was good advice for daily living no matter what the circumstances. Keep normal routines, breath slowly when overcome with anxiety, seek out human connections and conversations. Most importantly, go outside, play and be active. 

It made me think, maybe the best way to prepare and endure any significant event is to live a healthy life. Breath and pray. Take time to be thankful for special moments. Go outside, play and be active. People who prepare this way are not able to stand. They tend to drop to their knees as an expression of thanks because they've learned to appreciate the gift of life.


Click to read Malachi 3: 1-4

Reflection Questions:

  • What types of emergencies do you plan for?

  • Have you ever enacted your emergency plans?

  • How often do you find yourself at the mercy of unplanned events?

  • When do you take time to give thanks for the simple blessings of life?

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