The increasing intensity of earthquakes literally shake our world. The recent Chilean 8.8 Quake and the 9.1 Sumatran Quake in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami have both impacted the Earth’s rotation and shifted it’s axis. These small shifts in the axis may seem insignificant in themselves but the implications to the world’s weather patterns and gravitational forces are significant. It’s a bit scary.
The devastation we see in the aftermath of these events is also frightening. The horrific mess that Haiti has found itself in – not only for the colossal loss of life and infrastructure by a country not politically in shape to respond to such a disaster, but the utter desperation each Haitian finds themselves in… no fault of their own. Without the support of fellow human beings prepared to step in, the disaster would be beyond unbearable for those affected. And as an aside, just because Haiti has dropped out of the sensationalist news cycle, doesn’t mean we should give up providing greatly needed support – see Frances Frangipane’s recent article, Whose Test Is This? It’s a bit scary.
And if you think you are in a country that is immune to earthquakes, and it won’t happen to you… well, there is no such place. In Australia, we don’t seem to have many earthquakes… or do we? In the last 7 days we had 4 reasonable sized quakes; NW Alice Springs, NT 2.8, Mt. Martha, VIC 2.3, Ulladulla, NSW 3.0, Nelson Bay, NSW 3.3 (See Recent earthquakes measured by Geoscience Australia). They only get reported on the news when they can film a building crumpled or when someone dies. It’s a bit scary.
So why all this doom and gloom, Peter? Well, it is a reality check. I know I need it sometimes to shake me out of my comfortable lifestyle and my warm & fuzzie western world thinking… because that is a bit scary! What would happen to me if such an epic Haitian type event smashed into my life… and I hope personally it never does! But if it did occur, would I be ready? How can I be ready?
A psalm of David. LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
Those whose walk is blameless, who do what is righteous, who speak the truth from their hearts; who have no slander on their tongues, who do their neighbors no wrong, who cast no slur on others; who despise those whose ways are vile but honor whoever fears the LORD; who keep their oaths even when it hurts; who lend money to the poor without interest and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things will never be shaken.Psalm 15
Immediate proof is found with the Haitian Christians. Again, Frances Frangipane had this to say:
We talked about how, in the days after the Port-au-Prince earthquake, in looking for human interest stories, media reporters actually filmed these Haitians praying and worshiping God. There the Haitians were, singing hymns of praise to God. One clip I saw showed hundreds of Christians in absolute defiance of the surroundings, singing and marching in a field. With uplifted hands, and faces that beamed their trust in God, these Christians demonstrated the power of faith. As best as I could tell, they were mostly unaware of the cameras. Yet, the secular news media had become a virtual stage upon which God showcased the faith of His people. It was powerful.
Like Job who, in spite of his sudden and catastrophic loses, bowed low before God in worship (see Job 1:20), so our Haitian brethren showed the world a similar depth of character. Certainly, their collective heartache and loss were as deep as any in Haiti, yet the anchor of their soul, unmistakably, was Jesus Christ.
Depth of character… now is your time to prepare. Psalm 15 is a good place to start.