How To Get Through
The Coming Hyperinflation
(Part 5)

Dateline: 25 October 2013

This series of essays has been inspired by the book, When Money Dies, which is about the hyperinflation that occurred in Germany in the 1920's. The book presents a scenario of chaos, despair, desperation and violence. 

In learning of the history of the event, we can learn some very useful things about how to get through such a crisis, and that was the subject of Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series. In this essay I'd like to discuss the importance of maintaining a proper perspective as America appears to be hurtling headlong into an economic crisis.

Proper perspective is, of course, a subjective thing. My idea of proper perspective comes from my Christian faith and biblical worldview. People who have a different faith-belief will have a different worldview perspective.

It may well be that America's economic crisis will make the hyperinflation of 1920's Germany seem mild by comparison. There are certainly a lot of economic prognosticators who are promoting the idea that we're headed for some form of apocalypse. The internet is awash with prepper and survivalist web sites. Sometimes I read what they are predicting and, frankly, it resonates with me.

It resonates with me because, as a Christian, I can see that America has become a wicked nation in so many ways. I see the industrial era, and the modern, centralized civilization that has grown out of industrialism, as being more Babylonian than ancient Babylon ever was, and we are, therefore, more deserving of God's judgement. Beyond that, I have long recognized that Professor Walter Prescott Webb's Boom Hypothesis of Modern History is spot on. When you understand Professor Webb's hypothesis, it's not hard to see that we are in for something epic.

Please don't mistake me for a doom-and-gloomer. While I'm concerned about my country and the troubles that may lie ahead for myself and my family, I'm looking at the big picture, and when I do that, I'm optimistic. When I look at the big picture, I actually feel pretty good about things.

The big picture is what the big picture has always been—that God is sovereign over all of His creation. Proud earthly empires come, and proud earthly empires go, but God's kingdom is eternal. And God rules his kingdom with wisdom and power, perfectly and beautifully, according to His good pleasure, and His eternal plan. Not one single thing will happen in the history before us that God doesn't decree through His providence. That's powerfully comforting to me. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, it should be powerfully comforting to you too.

That said, I know that when I read those survivalist web sites for long, or even news stories about how our government is becoming more tyrannical, it's easy to become fearful. There are so many terrible scenarios, and there is a tendency in the human mind to imagine so many horrible possibilities. When this happens, the big picture gets little; God fades out of our consciousness. A fear of man comes. Anxiousness and depression come from the fear of man. The fear of man is a snare (Proverbs 29:25).

So, when it comes to scenarios of the future, my advice is to keep the big picture in mind. God is at work. The Great Maestro of the universe is orchestrating the history of the world, down to the smallest details. 

Bearing that in mind, I'd like to point out that When Money Dies is not the whole story about the history of  the Wiemar hyperinflation. No book can tell the whole story, which is to say, no book can tell the experiences of all people and families through such a crisis. When Money Dies explains the history of this hyperinflationary event by presenting only incidents of deprivation, rioting, theft, cruelty, greed and hopelessness. While I appreciate knowing about these aspects of the history, there isn't a doubt in my mind that there is another side to the story.

That side would, of course, be the story of God caring for His people in so many ways in the midst of crisis, as He has always done, and will always do. Were it possible to fully know and tell this kind of history from the German hyperinflationary years, we would hear stories of love and kindness, of self-sacrifice, providential protection, and miraculous blessings.

Remember this.... When a crisis arises, and there is no place to go, but to God, that is not a disaster. 

This isn't to say that God does not, at times, according to his will, take His people through tremendous hardships and suffering, even unto death. That has always happened. But He provides grace and strength to get through those times. There is a familiar poem, by Annie Johnson Flint, that is so appropriate to understanding this view of the Christian life...

God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day

Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

God hath not promised we shall not know

Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,

Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.

I think it is safe to say that Annie Johnson Flint did not believe in the "health, wealth and prosperity gospel" that so many modern American evangelicals cleave to. But I digress.

So, as a Christian, looking at history, I see my role in this grand panorama-in-the-making as that of obedience to what God directs me to do. My objective is not survival, but obedience to a higher calling. That higher calling is God's law as found in scripture.

In Matthew 22:36-40 there is an exchange between Jesus and a Pharisee that goes like this...

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Thus, survival at all costs is not a Christian teaching. Some Christians may be called to not survive a crisis, either out of love for God or love for another person. Obedience to God's calling and His law is the most important thing, and Jesus Christ was the perfect example of that.

In any event, I think my essay on The Puritan Theology of Suffering (and the book that prompted me to write it) should be required reading for any Christian who sees trouble ahead.

Mike Tyson, the boxer, once quipped, "Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face." That quote makes me think of survivalists who are planning for every frightful apocalyptic scenario. The fact is, you can't plan for every scenario, and it's folly to try and do so. The only plan in a crisis that will cover all possible scenarios, that will never let you down when life and circumstances "punch you in the face" is a deep and abiding faith in the sovereign God of all creation, through Jesus Christ. I'm infinitely more confident in the grace and mercy of God than I am any earthly preparations. 

Now, having said that, let me also make it clear that there are certainly instances in the Bible when God directs His people to prepare or flee in order to preserve their lives. Those who understand that a crisis is probable, and feel it is prudent to take measures to protect themselves and their families, should do exactly that. 

Personally, I've felt called to separate (flee) as much as possible from the dependencies and expectations of the ungodly industrial-world system for a very long time. Those who have read much of my writings know that I am a Christian-agrarian. The combination of Christianity and agrarianism is completely antithetical to the pagan-industrial world system.   My focus on this separation has been out of obedience to what I believe the Bible teaches. 

This Christian-agrarian lifestyle may look like "prepping" or "survivalism" to some people, but it's actually an old way of life that I've pursued for decades. Though I am a minority, there are many like me out there. You know who you are.

I hope that this hyperinflationary series has been thought provoking and helpful. I think I will write one more essay  that takes a look at the subject of a "hopeful vision" for the future.


To go to Part 6 of this series


Kyle Sonnier said...

Mr. Kimball,

Thank you for writing this series of essays. Your writing is always very thought provoking and it is evident that you have put a lot of time (and prayer) into things you share.

I think you've put 'survival' into proper perspective by stating that survival is not the ultimate goal - obedience is. Thank you for that. Sometimes we can be doing the right things, but not for the right reasons and you've opened my eyes to that.

I always look forward to your posts. Please keep up the excellent work!

Pa Mac said...

Great word, Herrick!
I too, am encouraging friends and family to be prepared for hard times ... within reason, knowing that unless we live under the comforting belief in the Sovereign arm of God all our preparations are in vain. I've seen folks scared to death of one conspiracy after another, but the greatest conspiracy of all was satan's trying to thwart Calvary and it never had a chance under the sovereign decrees of God.
Thanks again, Herrick for focusing our attention where it should never leave: Our strong and Almighty God and His Christ. "O Lord God of our fathers, art not Thou God in heaven? and rulest not Thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in Thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?" 2 Chron 20:6
Keep it up, my friend

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these essays. Glad that we think alike on these matters. :)Nancy :)

Ann from KY said...

Excellent article!! Right on is so many parts! I think I will read that poem to my children--speaks loudly to me! God Bless you and yours!

Gorges Smythe said...

Excellent post. I've tried saying similar things in my own blog a few times, though less eloquently.

RonC said...

When you read the Revelation of St John, you can start to see how things will play out in the end times. If you had tried to figure it all out before 1948, you would have needed a huge imagination to fit the pieces together. After 1948 and the re-birth of Israel, the picture suddenly became a whole lot clearer and is getting clearer by the day.

Revelations is not a hard book to understand. Most of the symbolism is explained as it is brought up. Here's the question...Where's the United States? World superpower and not even mentioned! Or if it is mentioned, it is in a VERY negative context...(chapter 18.)

I finished re-reading "When Money Dies" today and I had a couple thoughts. First, Greed and selfishness usually got punished. France played a huge role in the misery that Germany went through so is it any wonder what happened to France in WWII? Food was plentiful on the farms, but the farmers chose not to sell. Farms got ransacked.

The other thought was that hyperinflation becomes inevitable when it is politically not convenient to accept the recession that will fix the imbalances from the previous boom part of the business cycle. "The longer the delay, the more savage the cure."
(See bottom paragraph on page 253 to the break on page 255) We've long since passed that point in this country!

john said...

You are truly an eloquent writer. Through your books and blogs you have probably helped many people cope in these trying times. My great grandparents lived through the "great depression". They never said a whole lot of truly bad things about it but they were "country folk". They taught me a lot about taking care of yourself and those around you. We as country need to stop being so selfish and start knowing out neighbors again. One man is foolish to think he can survive alone. A close family like yours is truly a blessing. I hope that I can raise my three boys to take care of themsekves but also to help others in times of need. Sorry to be long winded. Thanks---John

Prepper Website said...

Good word!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the posts. They are insperational. I also am a man looking to provide for my family the "Old" way. I have gone the way of real horse power! They run on hay and oats, something they can help grow themselves! And two of them are passing on the tradition in the form of colts. "Do that with a tractor". :) I as others fear the worst in the comming days... so thank you for that reminder. It's not about me!

odiie said...

Amen and amen. I wholeheartedly agree. You've put into words what my husband and I have been saying for years. When I lose the proper perspective I remember my hero, Jim Eliot, and wonder if I could ever lay my life down as he did.

gr8ful said...

I so appreciate your commentary today. It was a Word in due season for me. I have kind of been freaking out, instead of going to The Throne. He has always taken care of us, and He promises to continue. Do our best, and He will do the rest.

fact said...

In your next essay, I would greatly like you to discuss what you will do when the city men come to take your rural patch when they have lost all.

Being agrarian is the easy (and laudable) part. Dealing with the thieves to come will not be.

Herrick Kimball said...

Thanks for the comments and feedback.

I've lived in my rural community for over 30 years. I know most of my neighbors. Most are gun owners and hunters. If things go to pieces that bad I have no doubt that we will very quickly get together and come up with a common, coordinated plan to protect our families. We are far enough out in the country that we would have time to organize, and I'm sure the "city men" would meet with a lot of resistance before they got here.

Anonymous said...

I am a born-again Christian and have been a "prepper" for around 10 years or so. I've read, followed and contributed to blogs and websites frequently. I think I may have found a new favorite. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Modern American Christians have little by little rendered up their allegiance to the economy and forgotten about God's Economy, the real Economy. Again, there is nothing more basic to living on God's earth than that you have to eat. Where does that sustenance come from? Why, of course, the soil, and those who tend it for the sake of the fruits, vegetables, and livestock that sustain us all.

Instead of remembering that, we have chosen through our ignorance and idolatry to pretend that this dishonest, "corporacratic" economy is the bottom line, rather than God's Economy. Many will object to going back to working the land, perhaps not even as full-scale farmers, but just as tenders of serious kitchen gardens, as somehow a retrogression and beneath their education and training. Further, they'll accuse preppers and other doom-and-gloomers of being idolatrous, not trusting God, almost as if we should welcome the coming suffering, chains and slavery that may come about due to the evil tyranny of a desperate central government. You CAN make an idol out of anything, including prepping, as if God is not on His throne; but I have frankly grown weary of this line of thinking and seriously believe it is more about THEIR idolatry in adhering to this economy as if it is God's own provision for them.

God may indeed want those of us in His church to go through suffering and tough times - even martyrdom - but it is utterly mad and irrational to assume that this is in fact His will for all of us. What you write here, Brother Herrick, is more rational than most of the rest of the nonsense I see in the news and the rest of the palaver out there!

Reality can only be staved off for so long; it will re-assert itself!

David Smith