Lessons learned from ‘faithquakes’ of life
Published 11:36 am Saturday, April 23, 2016
Within one week, two major earthquakes have shaken Japan and a third major earthquake has destroyed coastal Ecuador. Hundreds of aftershocks have rattled these countries where people are still trying to rescue those buried under collapsed buildings.
It’s difficult to imagine the death and destruction there that we can only get a glimpse of on television. A friend who went on a mission trip to help the people of Haiti following their earthquake several years ago commented on a church service she attended there.
The congregation was quoting a Scripture passage in unison. The church only had two Bibles. She asked the interpreter the reference. He told her, “Psalm 46.” Looking up the words, she realized how those verses spoke to survivors of the earthquake. The chapter begins,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.”
Natural disasters like the earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador, and like the earthquake in Haiti as well as other places around the world, may cause us to ask why these things happen. It can shake our faith to see the suffering in our world.
Chuck Colson has said, “The Biblical worldview teaches that God created the heavens and the earth and that the physical creation, reflecting its rational creator, behaves according to observable laws. As a result of observing these laws and principles, we know much about plate tectonics and how earthquakes occur. And we know that they are a result of natural processes.”
When disasters occur, remember the words of Father Andrew, “Never judge God by suffering, but judge suffering by the Cross.” We are witnessing an outpouring of love and concern for the people of Japan and Ecuador as we did the Haitians. Theologian and preacher Helmut Thielicke has written, “Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellow men and I will tell you how much you have loved them.”
Christians from different denominations and Christian humanitarian organizations such as Convoy of Hope and Samaritan’s Purse have come together to demonstrate the faith they believe. People of faith see humanity as being made in the image of God. And Jesus told us, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:30).
Life on this earth brings tragedies of all kinds. Your world can fall apart around you through sickness, accident, death, divorce, or even natural disasters like storms. All these can cause faithquakes in our lives. But, Psalm 46 reminds us, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
– Jan White is an award-winning columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.