Have you ever experienced an earthquake? If you live in Southern California….I bet you have! With the current El Nino going on, there’s been a lot of information in the news lately about natural disasters ~ floods, rains, winds, and even some earthquakes. In fact, yesterday (1-17-16) was the 22nd anniversary of the devastating 1994 Northridge Earthquake. I will never forget that event. And I still can’t understand how they went from declaring it a 7.9 all the way down to a 6.7 ~ it’s got to do something with insurance and what they pay out after a certain pointage. But that’s another blog for another day.
That day, in the wee hours of the night, my husband and I awoke to the most violent shaking and rolling ~ it was absolutely terrifying! I remember standing up in bed because I couldn’t get my footing on the floor; I jumped off the edge of the bed, through the doorway and landed in the hallway. Still haven’t figured that one out yet, but that’s really what happened. Our oldest daughter was only 4 months old at the time and in her own room. Because the quake was rolling up and down, AND shaking side to side, we couldn’t get her bedroom door open. We finally did and it took us a bit to find her…bouncing all over her crib. Those minutes we experienced are something that will always live with us; and will always be thankful we survived!
My parents and sister were living just a mile from the epicenter. My sister woke up looking out her bedroom window…which was about 5 feet ABOVE her bed! True story! My parents have a CalKing bed and they weren’t able to grab on to each other because the shaking was so violent. Once they could get out of the house, they ended up staying in our little 600 sq. foot apartment for about 8 days before they could go home. One day when I came in from the daily washing of bath towel, everyone was watching a video clip of a man shoveling the bits and pieces of kitchenware into a trash can, items that had previously been dishes, bowls, platters, cups, mugs, and family heirlooms. Now, when I had left the apartment to put the towels in the dryer everyone had been watching the news. So, upon returning and seeing the video clip, I thought they were still watching the news. I commented on how awful it must be for that family who’d lost everything. My husband, parents, and sister all turned and looked at me as if I’d said something odd. I reiterated that I felt really bad for those people and how it’s going to take a long time to get back to normal. That’s when my Dad looked at me, tears in his eyes, and said, “Rene’, that’s OUR house.” I was stunned….words failed me. It did takes years to recover, but recover and rebuild they did!
A few years ago, when I was homeschooling our youngest daughter, we were studying earthquakes in her science book and it talked about the Northridge quake…so of course, I recounted the story of our experience. 🙂
While we continued studying together, it was interesting to me as I read through the points and terminology they used in the science book as it related to earthquakes: focus, fault, creep, and epicenter. We’ve all heard those words before, and living in California, we hear those words A LOT! But as I was reading through the definitions with my daughter, I couldn’t help but feel the nudge of the Holy Spirit revealing to me how these particular words relate to us in a spiritual sense.
Let me share with you these definitions:
Focus: the point underground where an earthquake starts.
Epicenter: a sudden movement of Earth’s crust.
Creep: slow movement of Earth’s crust along a fault.
Fault: a crack in the Earth’s crust.
So, have you had any “Life Quakes” lately? Anything been creeping down a fault line in your life? I found it very interesting that it is not the epicenter that is the place where the earthquake begins and originates – that is called the ‘focus.’ So where is our focus? What is at our center – what is centered at the core of our heart?
Earthquakes happen when there is too much pressure in the core of the earth and along the underneath area of the earth’s crust. When pressure builds up near a fault line, there is sometimes a sudden movement (epicenter) or a slow movement (creep) in the earth’s crust to relieve that pressure. Earthquake!
I bet you didn’t think you were going to get a mini Science lesson this morning when you woke up! Well, hang in there with me…by the time I’m done writing this post, I hope you can see how we experience “Life Quakes”, but thinking in terms of the above definitions.
When we have cracks in our facade, and the pressure builds from all the stuff we have going on underneath, my friend, there is gonna be movement that happens ~ some will be a slight little shudder that we barely notice; some will be a shaking so intense we cannot help but to seek cover and rebuild.
Life Quakes come in many different shapes and intensities ~ car accidents, bounced checks, losing a home, losing a family member, difficulties with friends or children, job loss, marital issues; and the list can go on and on. Sometimes when God shakes things up in our life, we wonder “Where the heck did that come from?” And sometimes, we know exactly where it has come from.
Sometimes the pressure that builds up in our life is from our own doing ~ worry, fear, anxiety, sinful actions, etc.
Sometimes the pressures comes from spiritual bondage or warfare.
Either way, the Lord IS going to allow a “life quake” to happen in order for that pressure to be released; for the sake of rebuilding to occur!
Isaiah 43:1-3 says, “Now this is what the Lord says— the One who created you, Jacob, and the One who formed you, Israel— “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you. For I Yahweh your God, the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior, give Egypt as a ransom for you, Cush and Seba in your place.”
These verses have long been a calming passage to me. It’s not “if”, but “when.” Our response to the shaking is not only an indication of where our focus is but it is a visible sign to those around us of how we are choosing to deal with those events that shake up our life…those life-quakes.
If we go running and screaming into the unknown, we may experience severe injuries by falling debris. But when we stand firm, under a stronghold, with our head down and our neck covered, we can walk away from the disaster virtually unscathed. We can walk through the rubble, out into a clear space. We can look back and get rid of the unimportant stuff that was causing confusion, and we can sift through the pieces to find what really has true meaning.
Psalm 9:9-10, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Those who know Your name trust in You because You have not abandoned those who seek You, Yahweh.”
Psalm 18:19, “He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”
During the Northridge earthquake, numerous new stations shared a variety of survival stories. Some were humorous ~ yes, there were plenty of folks who ran outside in their birthday suits! Some were terrifying. Some were extremely tragic. Everyone had a story to share. Everyone experienced the very same earthquake, but depending on how close they were to the epicenter of the quake made a difference in what kind of story they had lived through. My little family and I were 14 miles away from the epicenter. We had a few things fall off shelves, but did not have any damage or loss. My parents were less than one mile from the epicenter and lost everything in their kitchen, most of all their photos fell from the walls, their house moved off the foundation, and every single window in the house was shifted out of their framing. Because of the varying proximity to the shaking, our rebuilding and recovery time was vastly different.
Psalm 34:17-18, “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.”
When those tremors begin in our spirit, we must pay close attention to them. The Lord is getting ready to do some remodeling ~ and maybe even some relocating.
God has brought me nearer to Him in the past decade as never before, and it’s all due to a variety of life-quakes our family has experienced. But the remodeling and rebuilding I have personally gone through with the Lord is completely worth it! It doesn’t mean that I’m not freaked out a little when I feel a tremor. However, in the back of my mind I can choose to be excited to see what God is going to do next!
Read the following verse and let it wash over you as a balm to any “quake wounds” you may be experiencing today ~ Psalm 19:14, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You, Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Just as we cannot predict earthquakes, we cannot necessarily predict life-quakes. But as with earthquakes, we can be prepared for them when they occur. We can do the same with life-quakes ~ we can prepare our hearts and minds as we daily read God’s Word and choose to trust Him with our life. We can put on the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) so that we are protected in the stronghold of the Almighty Hand of God.
Take heart my friend ~ He will provide a way out!