I dug out some supplies today which I've been hoarding for several years:
Matthew 25 follows immediately on the heels of Jesus telling his disciples what the signs of the end times would look like. The parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins gives as an important admonition to keep our lamps trimmed and burning, meaning in my opinion that material preparations leave us more well-situated to await the return of the Groom with joy.
Some advice I once received from a very skilled counselor about my continual desire to do what's best for others:
"When you're traveling on an airplane, what do they tell you during the safety brief?"
"I dunno." I replied.
"They tell you to fix your own oxygen mask before helping others."
We live at a level of privilege and comfort that most of the world can only dream of. In times of crisis, those of us who are still able to sit comfortably shouldn't marvel in superiority at the misery of others. Rather, we should leverage our material blessings (as with the parable of the bags of gold) in order to gain friends for yourselves that will last forever. The parable of the wise virgins, however, does illustrate that there should also be a limit to your generosity.
This post is my best attempt to persuade you all to stock up. Many economic experts agree that we haven't fully comprehended the extent of the damage yet, and the DOW Jones is in no way reflective of the actual health of the economy anymore. Billionaires will profit regardless of economic conditions, sometimes they even leverage a crisis to make money. If you're not looking after your own survival interests, you may be sorely disappointed when the supply chain woes ruin your trip to the grocery store.
As I wish to convey by the title, this is not a message of doom and gloom.
Isaiah 35 is a chapter filled with hope and promise, amid an entire book that prophesies death and destruction for the nation of Israel. Even though they were guilty of abandoning God, and would soon face invasion and exile by the Assyrians in the North and the Babylonians in the South, yet God took a moment amidst all the harsh words to remind them that his love was everlasting (Jer. 31:3).
If it feels strangely like you're being buried and drowned, maybe God is planting you like a seed for a period of later growth and flourishing.
23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”