That morning of January 17, 1994, I was thrown out of bed at 4:30. There had been a terrific crash of glass. The room was moving, the floor shuddering, a roaring like the sound of a freight train filled my ears. I knew what it was as I raced across the bedroom down the hall in my bare feet.
Earthquake! Big one!
“The children!” my wife called after me.
I was moving in a rush, mindful of broken glass in the carpet. A fish tank had shattered, fish flopping on the floor.
My youngest daughter was crying, holding me. “Daddy?”
“Was that an earthquake?” my eldest daughter wanted to know.
“Yes. Is everyone all right?”
They were, thank God. “Let’s get out of the house. Put on your slippers.”
The 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake. Terrifying. It caused great damage, jolted our in-ground swimming pool upward to resettle at an uneven cant. 57 people were killed that day, over 5,000 injured. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Freeways buckled, became parking lots. In that predawn morning Officer Clarence Wayne Dean rode his motorcycle over the overpass from the Antelope Valley Fwy 14 to the Golden State 5, like he did every morning on his way to work. But this morning, his last, he rode his bike into the air. The overpass had collapsed.
Those of us living near the San Fernando Valley can well remember that morning. We all felt so out of control, so helpless, so small compared to the awesome forces of nature.
SUPREME COURT DECISION
I think a lot of us are feeling a little wobbly after the last few weeks of change in our country, as though we’ve been knocked a little off-balance by great tectonic plates shifting beneath our feet. It’s been on my mind since that Friday. I’m sure it’s been on a lot of others’ minds as well; those celebrating the SCOTUS decision, those alarmed by it.
When we see fissures in our Constitution, the foundations of our country crumbling beneath us, it causes fear. It causes uncertainty, anger, despair. A longing for the good old days wells up in our hearts, a longing for heaven. For home.
“When the foundations are destroyed what will the righteous do?” was written by David as he fled from King Saul.
When I reflected upon Psalm 11 this morning God spoke peace into my soul. He gave me renewed hope and trust. Let me share my reflections with you.
GOD IS IN CONTROL
In the LORD I take refuge. How can you say to me: flee like a bird to your mountain. For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Ps 11:1-3)
When trouble strikes us personally or corporately our natural tendency is to want to flee to the mountains. The mountains are safe. They are a refuge. But read on.
The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne…(vs 4)
Whoa! Yes! Our God is firmly ensconced upon His throne in heaven. He is the Sovereign King of kings and Lord of lords. Nothing that is happening at the present has taken God by surprise. It’s part of His plan, His story. He is sovereignly in control! One day soon Jesus will return with ten thousands of His holy ones to establish righteousness upon the earth. What a day of rejoicing that will be!
HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE?
In the meantime, God is still in control, and He has a mission for us. We are to love the unlovely, share the Gospel with people who are very lost, like we once were. We are to link arms with fellow believers around the world, of all stripes, all denominations, every ethnicity, every culture. We are to link arms with those who call upon the name of the Lord and pray for the lost. We are to love them as Jesus loves them.
We are to show them Jesus!
We are also to fight against evil, using the spiritual weapons at our disposal. Prayer. The Word of God. Righteousness. Truth. The Good News of salvation to all who will believe and repent. Above all we are to fix our eyes upon Jesus, and think not upon the waves roiling at our feet.
For “men are like grass…the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever” (Is 40:6-8).
Let me know what you think.