By Barbara Henderson
The night was long and the storm was loud. Lightening was flashing, and thunder was rolling. If you have never been in a southern storm you may not understand that description of a storm. Let me just say that the thunder rolls like a string of large unseen explosions. That is bad enough. Flashes of lightening turn the night into intermittent day. Most of the time nobody gets hurt. But sometimes there are deadly tornadoes that accompany the storm. Other times there are lightning strikes that cause fires. One night the Spunkmire family was facing such a storm. Daddy Spunkmire was staying calm outwardly even though he was somewhat concerned. For some reason this storm seemed different. Mama Spunkmire was also trying to stay calm. She was determined to avoid giving her children a fear of storms that would cause them to run for shelter at the first drop of rain. Her life revolved around doing what was best for
Spunkmire Junior and Spunkmire Baby.
The Spunkmires lived in an older mobile home. It was really a lovely home well anchored to the ground. It was paid for. It was on their own land. They loved it. Their only concern was that mobile homes were not known for as the safest place to be during a storm. They were also possibly more flammable in a fire. They had heard stories of how quickly a mobile home would go up once a fire started, so they were saving money for a place with more land where they could build a brick home that would be safer during a storm. But, in the meantime, they were content to live their lives in a way that was consistent with their goal of being debt free. That meant living in a home that was older and cost less than the bank said they could afford. They had goals for the future and those goals didn’t include spending half their income on a mortgage.
Mrs. Hignite, who lived a few doors down, was so terrified of storms that she would go outside in the blackest of nights to get into her storm shelter. The shelter was a brick hole in the ground. It was damp and dark and very unpleasant. But that was where Mrs. Hignite felt safest when a storm was in the area. And, being the kind Christian lady that she was, Mrs. Hignite felt it her duty to call her neighbors at any time of the day or night and remind them they were invited into the storm shelter with her. It was a sad day in the neighborhood when Mrs. Hignite got a cell phone that had service in her storm shelter even when the door was shut.
Finally, the storm seemed to have passed by, and the family went to bed. Mama and daddy Spunkmire were resting in their bed. The Spunkmires were all allowed to sleep in their day clothes during a storm. Mama went to bed in full makeup. Daddy Spunkmire slept with his holster on so he would only have to grab his pistol. They were trying to put off sleeping just a little while longer to be sure their two boys were asleep. Soon then the family drifted off to sleep……Then KABOOM!! Lightning flashed one more time. It hit the middle of the roof. The house was suddenly in flames. Mama and daddy Spunkmire wanted to run to their boys, but the lightning strike had hit the middle of the house. Flames were between them and the children immediately.
The Spunkmires had replaced the windows in their home several years before with larger double paned windows. The parents quickly got out their window and ran around to the window where their boys were sleeping. The found the window to the boys room open and the two boys gone. Without missing a step they ran to the mailbox out by the street. There they saw Spunkmire Junior with Spunkmire Baby on his back calmly waiting for their parents. They had established a rendezvous point and even practiced disaster drills a few times. They were thankful that the boys were safe but not shocked. They had a plan, and the plan worked. Baby Spunkmire was looking for firetrucks. Neighbors were running out to see what was going on. Over all it was a good ending to a disastrous night. By the time the fire was out and daybreak came their home was gone. There was a twisted metal frame and Papa Spunkmires gun safe still standing. They had escaped with the clothes on their back and a few things that they slept with before the fire. Mama Spunkmier had her extra large hobo bag over her shoulder when they escaped because she slept with it over her shoulder on potentially disastrous nights. Papa had his wallet and keys in his pocket. The boys had escaped with nothing but each other because Spunkmier Junior opted to take his baby brother out instead of a few of his possessions.
Disasters like this one happen every day. Sometimes they have happy endings, and sometimes they don’t. If the Spunkmires had not prepared for just such a disaster by practicing what to do if a fire occurred and establishing a rendezvous place the story might have ended tragically. Insurance paid for the loss of their home and possessions. Because they were already living debt free the Spunkmiers decided to spend their insurance money on land instead of a new mobile home to go in the same spot. Spunkmier Junior and Spunkmier Baby were soon quite happy with the move because they were able to have a dog and a cat, something they had not been able to do in their previous home. They decided to buy a camper trailer and live in that while they built their new home. They came to look at the loss of their home as just a step in their journey to the big rendezvous in eternity.
The Spunkmiers not only had a rendezvous point in case of a home disaster, the had rendezvous points in shopping malls, camping trips, at flea markets, and any where else they went. If it was a new place the first thing they did was establish a point of rendezvous in case of separation. They also had back up rendezvous places. They had rendezvous points in case the family was separated during some sort of disaster. They had rendezvous points in case they wanted to escape a boring event.
In today’s world, a family can’t have too many rendezvous points. Families are separated by distance because of work and whatever duties or even pleasures the family may engage in. In a disaster getting the family together and making sure everyone is all right is the first thing people think of. It is best to figure out where to meet up if you can’t meet in your home. The recent fires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the surrounding areas, made that very clear. Families were separated. Some lives were lost. I don’t know what plans the families had for uniting with family during and after the fires. I suspect there were quite a few people who had specific places to go and people to call. Unnecessary worry is caused without a rendezvous point.
In the world we live in today being able to meet up with family in case of a disaster is even more important. Shootings are happening with increasing frequency. Knife attacks are the new terrorist activity. The economy is unstable. Jobs are hard to come by, and blah, blah, blah. You already know what is going on. Truly, setting up a rendezvous place for all sorts of scenarios is important. We know that ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’. That is the title of a Bob Dylan song. I suppose the title of the song would be appropriate in almost era. Something is always changing, and some of the changes are going to be bad. These changes, whether good or bad, will have an effect on many people. With Trump in as our president-elect I have hopes for a world that at least seems to lean toward sanity instead of insanity. My biggest concern may not be the normal ‘big concern’ for most people. I fear that people are looking at Trump as more than a man. My personal opinion is that he is going into a very difficult situation. He will only be able to accomplish any of his goals by the grace of God. However, this isn’t really about Trump. It is about the changing times and how families need to prepare.
Continue to do the obvious things like live as frugally as possible, stock pile enough food for several weeks. Make sure it is food that you actually eat. Consider self defense and how you would best be able to protect your family and yourself. A simple level of prepping that is good for everyone is to plan a week in advance. Plan your meals. Plan your trips. Plan your clothes. Plan your lunches. A lot of that isn’t really difficult. It just requires making plans in advance and then sticking to the plans. It makes life a lot easier if you wake up knowing what you are going to wear and what you are going to eat that day.
Planning for a little farther down the road is not that hard either. Keeping some things in your car that would make life easier if you were stuck living in your car for a few days is not hard. A few clothing items, some non-perishable food, and small bag of survival gear would be nice if you just get stranded due to some sort of traffic jam. A few years ago Jerry got stuck in traffic. His normal time to get home is around an hour and half. It took him about seven hours that day. We decided that the next time he hears of a bad wreck on I-5 he is just going to check into a motel and spend the night in the town where he works. By the way – he works only 40 miles from home. Traffic is bad every day. A bad wreck causes massive traffic jams. We are planning to get a little farther down our life’s road by moving to Idaho when our kids move there. Traffic isn’t nearly as bad and the cost of housing is quite a bit better. So, now we are saving as much money as possible. We are on a no debt lifestyle. I do use a credit card for quite a bit because I am addicted to those bonus points. However, we are only charging what we can pay off that month. If I find I am unable to do that then the card is going to be cut up and canceled. Even with all my medical bills we are managing. This is the Lord’s doing, and we are very thankful.
And, yes, part of our prepping is to establish rendezvous places in case of everything. Ultimately that does give us some peace of mind in a society that is disintegrating. It seems like no matter what happens we want to be together and know everyone is alright. From there facing the future would be much easier. Don’t assume that your family would automatically know where to go to meet you in an abnormal situation.
Anyway you look at it, there will be times when getting the family back together doesn’t work out. A family member may be killed as in the wildfires in Tennessee. The families who lost loved ones are not thinking about the loss of their property. They are thinking about the family member or members they lost. There is no earthly rendezvous for them. But, if they are Christians, there is a rendezvous coming. From that rendezvous there will be no more ‘parting days’. Families will not be ripped apart by death when they all reach heaven. So, the most important rendezvous you can possibly establish is the rendezvous in heaven.
Be saved yourself.
Teach your children to love God and keep the commandments. Never stop praying for them to be saved. Once they are saved keep on praying for God’s hand on them for good.
Do you have unsaved friends and family members? Pray for their salvation. You don’t want them to miss the greatest rendezvous of all times.
Pray for the lost world. That rendezvous is coming.
As we face these changing times, the truth of Jesus Christ does not change. His promise of eternal life does not change. The times change. The fads change. What is culturally and socially acceptable changes. People in power come and go. Some do good and some do evil, but everyone great and small will one day face the judgment. Some will face the rendezvous of the damned. They will meet in hell and spend eternity there. Some will rendezvous in heaven and spend eternity there.
While living life now it is important to stay in contact with family and friends. A rendezvous can be a meeting place that puts families back together in disaster situations. It can be just a big family reunion. Whatever the reason for the rendezvous, it is important to have a place of meeting set in advance.
As my family and I have faced my stage four cancer we have prayed for healing. We know God can heal. We know sometimes He chooses not to. We also know that regardless of what happens we have a rendezvous set. We will meet by the throne of God in heaven. That planned rendezvous is no less real than the mailbox where the Spunkmiers planned to meet in case of a fire in their home. My dad and my sister are already at the rendezvous. They will meet us when we get there.
Do you have your eternal rendezvous set? Will you spend eternity at the rendezvous in heaven or in hell? If you are reading this I am guessing you will be at the great rendezvous by the throne of God. In the mean time, as a Christian, you have a duty. You are to tell the world that Jesus saves.
We are to do what we can to help reform this nation. Christian values do make good laws of the land for everyone whether they are Christian or not. God’s values are good. We aren’t called to set up a theocracy, but enacting laws that are pleasing to God will be a blessing to the entire nation. In order to do that we need Christians who are educated as to exactly what is right before God. Keep in mind that our leaders are just human beings. They have no power to change the hearts of the wicked into God fearing people. Only God can do that. But we do have a part in change. Our job is to live like the Christians we claim to be. Our job is to tell people how to be saved. Our job is to tell them of the consequences of failure to accept the offer Jesus made to let them into heaven through Him. The more Christians, the more the land will accept godly laws as just and right. Currently we have half our population rejecting the teachings of God. We can do better than that.
One thing that has been obvious to any intelligent person is that Christians and Christianity have been under attack by government, news media, and social pressure. Everyone is being pressured to avoid hurting the feelings of infidels headed for hell – also known as Moslems – and avoid mentioning anything to do with Christianity and Jesus Christ at all costs. This needs to stop. There are laws that guarantee freedom of religion. I know that becoming a Christian is a choice, and that morality and decency can’t be legislated. Acting right has to come from the heart, and that means a heart where Jesus Christ is King. However, Christians do not become door mats just because they are Christians. Christians do not check their constitutional rights at the door when the choose Christ. Christians are free to make use of the laws of the land just like anyone else. If they are treated in a manner that is against the law then they should carefully consider taking the matter to court. I do not believe the gospel has ever been spread effectively by violence, so I am not suggesting that. But I do believe that Christians have been silent when speaking up would have been the better choice. With our new President elect I believe Christians will have the support of government in freely exercising their freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Let’s be sure to use those freedoms.
Remember – we want the Rondy in heaven to be bigger than the Rondy in hell.
Aside: I grew up in Anchorage where the Fur Rendezvous is held every year in February. It includes the sled dog races and all sorts of neat things which I believe now includes ‘snowshoe baseball’. A shortened version of its name is ‘The Rondy. It was originally a rendezvous for fur trappers to meet to sell their furs. I am looking forward to meeting you all at the big Rondy in heaven.