Life’s Earthquakes

Hello friends. I’m musing this weekend on earthquakes and I’d like to know what you think of them. They sure have been in the news lately and some of their explosions have been beautiful to behold yet deadly to our planet and all who live on it. Consider the latest predictions of earthquakes. Since I love Yellowstone Park, I read up on what’s happening there. Did you know that on some days the magma below Yellowstone Lake heaves up and down and the lake actually tilts? Last month they had 97 quakes! What would happen when this ‘super-volcano’ erupts? There is plenty of good science that describes the devastation this would cause to literally the entire planet.

When it will happen is a question only God can answer, but as long as it rumbles, tumbles, heaves and spews, one has to wonder if they should even think of visiting Yellowstone Park! So far, if you look at the stats, the park is filled with plenty of folks, especially now that some of the Covid restrictions have been lifted. So go, get out there and experience this place of wonder God has given us!

Thinking of all of this made me think of our own “life earthquakes.” We’ve all had them, some worse than others but nonetheless, they are devastating and certainly life-changing.

We see many people throughout the Bible narratives that encountered such upheaval. One is the prophet, Habakkuk who received a message from God that shook his world. Habakkuk had been wondering why God seemed to turn a deaf ear to his pleas. Day and night he couldn’t understand how could God allow the violence and destruction in Judah to continue and he pled with God to stop it. He was concerned that his nation was sinking further and further into evil living. Sound familiar? Habakkuk wanted it to end … we do, too.

Perhaps you are going through an earthquake right now, cancer, financial ruin, a prodigal child in trouble, job reviews not so good, divorce, death, COVID … big stuff that rocks us to the core. Or perhaps your world is more like the tremors, not a big 6.8+ quake, but those little 3.2 ones, but then another is 3.5, and on and on until it goes kaboom—the big one. Your feet are not on steady ground and unfamiliarity becomes your un-wanted companion.

Habakkuk was in that mess. Even though he felt his pleas were unheard, he believed that God WAS at work. He was right, but to his dismay, not the work he or you and I would ask for. Instead, God was mobilizing an army of evil!—Babylon—the epitome of depravity and heinous acts. They were about to invade the little nation and Habakkuk responded to this saying, “I trembled inside when I heard this…my legs gave way beneath me.” He felt his fear deep in his bones and his heart, yet his response went on in words that to this day can confound us. Why? Here is what he said:

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.” –Habakkuk 3:18-19 [NLT]

Yes, Habakkuk felt his fear and let God know, yet he responded to his dire circumstances with his faith and astoundingly with joyfulness-really?! I want to be like that, I want to get rid of the dumb worry-list that invades my prayers and like Habakkuk, declare what my God can and will do when he said:

  • O God, You have shown Your power and might.
  • O God, You have rescued Your people.
  • O God, You have fiercely defended those You call Your children.

For Habakkuk, faith was not the absence of fear but a determination to trust in God. Everything around him was exploding like an earthquake but he chose to rejoice in the Lord and extol the glory and power of the Lord.

Habakkuk’s story reminds us that fear doesn’t mean we lack faith. It means the safely-grounded life we so cherish is shaking and what is happening to us is scary and unknown. Fear is natural in such circumstances and we’d be nuts to try to muster up the courage to face that fear on our own. Like Habakkuk, we turn to God, our Jehovah Jireh-Provider and Jehovah-Yeshua our Rescuer and Savior. We recount what God has done in our lives, and we give praise for it, which bolsters our courage and our trust, as it did for the old prophet.

And here is a reminder that Habakkuk never experienced: we have the cross of Jesus Christ…once an instrument of death for our Savior. But it didn’t defeat Him because He rose from death so now the cross stands empty—a symbol of triumph and resurrection! Think about that awful-yet-Good Friday – remember the earthquake? Those in the graves woke up and walked again. The earthquake was good, it released what was death into life again.

 Volcanologists will tell you that yes, there is devastation with earthquakes, but then there is new life again. Here in the Southwest, we see that daily as we have some of the largest volcanic fields, calderas, and lava upheaves in North America. This geology is like the story of the cross, the power of God to be able take care of any circumstance we go through and give us new hope and life again.

As the Psalmist said God alone is my Rock and my Savior—my Stronghold. I cannot be shaken.”  [62:6 GW]