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Holy Joy

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.—Philippians 4:8

As Christian preppers we live an alternative to the culture around us. We are often uncomfortably aware of the wider culture’s failings—its shallowness, unsustainability, injustice, lack of faith. As we deepen community with our neighbors and live as our brothers’ keepers we are confronted by the terrible ways in which these widespread failings harm particular people. As we live closer to the land we also become more intensely aware of ecological problems, from immediate struggles with drought, flood and disease to longer-term threats of aquifer depletion, pollution and climate change.

These problems are real. We have to acknowledge them. We have to shape our lives in a  way that doesn’t contribute to these problems and that does give us resilience to deal with them. But in order not to succumb to bitterness and burnout, we need to remember that these harsh realities are not the ultimate reality, that these painful truths are not the whole truth.

We need to pay attention to the things that are honorable, just, lovely and pure. We need to take time to notice and give thanks for the beauty of the created world, to look at the sky, to savor wild berries and garden produce, to listen to the birds and smell the freshness after rain. We need to see the kindness and courage of our neighbors as well as their brokenness. We need to be sensitive to God’s spirit at work in us and to remember the times when we were faithful to that spirit, as well as repenting the times when we were not. We need to remember the slow and patient work of God, in our souls and in the world, that heals the sick and brings the dead to new life. In order to know and bear the world’s sorrow responsibly, we need to be supported by the joy of God.

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