Emergency preparedness kits

Today was the annual health fair at our local events center.  I knew the kids wanted to go so I created a scavenger hunt for them to complete in teams of two, and sent them on their way.  With signatures to gather, items to collect, information to learn, books to buy and giveaways to sign up for, the kids loved their chance to independently wander and look around.

After everyone completed their scavenger hunts, we headed home and the kids immediately started sorting, organizing and enjoying their treasures.  They came home with bracelets, balloons, necklaces, coloring books and candy.  It always cracks me up just how much candy our kids consume at the health fair, but that’s another story.

We hadn’t been home too long when Lillia (age 10) bounded up the stairs with a “Natural Disaster” coloring and activity book in her hands.  She began to tell me what a great book it was, and how it gave so much “really important information.”  Watching her, I could tell she was a little disturbed, and quickly found out why.  Dropping the book down on my desk, she pointed to the page I was supposed to read.  “Every house needs to have an emergency preparedness kit prepared and available for use when necessary.  A proper emergency kit needs the following items….”

I understood now why she was disturbed.  You see, we don’t have an emergency kit.  Lillia had clearly been persuaded in their importance, and was rather put-out that we were living in such deplorably unsafe conditions.  I could just hear her questions and concerns without her even uttering a single word.  “Why don’t we have an emergency kit Mom?  Aren’t we supposed to?  What would happen if a natural disaster came, and we were unprepared?  And WHEN will we put one together – today – or tomorrow?!?”

Preparing myself for this onslaught of questions, and trying to determine when we’d make a trip to the store to buy all the necessary items, I was caught off guard by her next statement.  Reviewing all the emergency kit items one-by-one….candles, bottled water, matches, radio with batteries, flashlight…she stopped.  “They don’t even have a Bible on this list, Mom!!” she exclaimed.  Sighing, and thoroughly disgruntled, she grabbed a Sharpie marker from my desk, wrote “BIBLE” across the top of the emergency kit list, and headed back downstairs to share with her siblings just how incomplete this book’s list was.

Ah, the passions and simplicity of youth!  To be honest, I’m not sure I would have identified the “missing item” in that list.  I would have probably gotten caught up in making a shopping list of items I needed to purchase to put together our emergency kit, and lost sight of what wasn’t there.

I wonder how often I do that in my day-to-day life.  I can get caught up in the minutiae, details and even the emergency itself, before taking a step back and realizing that the most important thing – God – is missing.  Whether you have an actual emergency preparedness kit at your house or not, we all need our spiritual emergency kit ready for use at a moment’s notice.  In fact, wherever you are in relation to an emergency, that spiritual emergency kit has got to be open, accessible, and constantly in use.

What are its essential items?  Your Bible (not as decoration but a book to actually read!), prayer, quiet time alone with the Lord, friends or a community that you can grow and learn with and be accountable to, and dependence on Him.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the emergency kit question doesn’t come up again sometime soon at my house.  And maybe it will at yours too.  Regardless, in the immediate future, make sure you have all your spiritual emergency kit supplies handy and accessible.  Because unlike an emergency preparedness kit, the spiritual emergency kit shouldn’t just be used in case of emergency!