Do you remember the old story about the man who applied for a job working for a farmer, who gave as his qualification for the job that he could sleep when the wind blew? The point was that he always prepared for the possibility of a storm by securing the stock and barn every night, therefore when a storm arose, he didn't have to jump out of bed and run around doing anything to save the animals or barn. He was prepared.
If there's one thing I've learned for sure in this life, it is that there are a lot of unexpected storms. I'm not just referring to the kind of snow storm much of the West received earlier this week. I mean the unexpected illnesses, accidents and injuries, death of a loved one, job loss, a late freeze, a car that breaks down, a demanding calling, a family member or friend who needs help, and that list doesn't even begin to list natural disasters such as flood, volcano ash, tornados, tsunamis, or hurricanes. There are lesser personal disasters, too, that run the gamut from a broken tooth, a worn out washing machine, theft, or a rejected manuscript. Any or all of these things can raise havoc in our lives.
How do we prepare for these unexpected storms? Physical preparation is the easiest, though is often neglected. There's good old food storage, but there's also making certain we have adequate insurance, a cash reserve for dealing with emergencies, and taking steps to be strong and healthy. A little forethought will carry most people safely through most storms, though not all. That is why we must be spiritually prepared as well. Tough times can drain our spiritual reserves as quickly as our physical.
When my husband and I were younger and our children were arriving, my husband became deeply concerned about keeping the gas tank of our car topped off. I've often thought of that time and compared it to my spiritual tank. I never know when there will come a demand for spiritual strength and when it does, I don't want to be caught with an empty tank. I've always considered prayer, scripture study, bearing of one's testimony, accepting callings, and choosing uplifting entertainment part of spiritual preparation. Now I'm convinced the most important step to being spiritually prepared is temple attendance.
It's no accident that temples are being built far and wide, faster than most of us can keep track of them. This world needs the spiritual strength available only within those sacred walls. During this time of physical uncertainties and spiritual trials, I urge everyone to secure your homes, prepare reserves, look after your health, establish a Plan B, and keep your spiritual tanks filled.