NASA defines an earthquake as an intense shaking of Earth’s surface. I personally don’t remember feeling an earthquake but I know how a spritual eathquake feels. I am sure I am not the only one who has been there. Things in our world get turned upside down and the ground beneath our feet begins to feel unsteady. We question almost everything we know to be true. This earthquake can be brought on by a small event or a life-changing event. Regardless of the size it makes us take a second look at who we are and what we are doing.
In my personally experience, I have felt a few of these in my lifetime. The first one I can remember is having my mind set on where I wanted to go to college then to have a letter come in the mail that I was deferred acceptance until they could review my secondary test scores. In that moment I thought my plan was dead and their was no hope. God knew better and in the long run I did get accepted to the college of my choice. Another time was when my husband accepted a job 700 miles away from our family. This move would mean that we would be heading to a part of the country neither of us had ever traveled. I had so many questions that could not be answered at that time. More recently our family decided to move my grandma into an assisted living facility close to my parents. Although my grandma is still of right mind, her mobility has declined and we no longer felt it was safe for her to live alone. Although we felt this decision was correct, it didn’t make it any easier or less emotional for her or the family. In all my experiences I am reminded that quick and abrupt changes are always uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean that they are for bad. In many occasions I believe we allow our emotions to determine if this change is a positive or negative change. The thing is that our emotions can lie to us and many of these changes take us exactly down the road in which God has planned for us.
We are not the only ones to experience earthquakes. The people of Jesus time and even before Him knew of their wrath as well. Most of the time these earthquakes highlight essential times in the history of our faith. First, we see it in Exodus 19:18, when Moses was given the 10 commandments. Exodus 19:18 says, “Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for the Lord had descended upon it in fire and the smoke rose up like the smoke of a furnace. The entire mountain trembled.” I could only imagine the fear this struch in the Isrealites. They had just fled from slavery in Egypt though the split Red Sea and now here they were having everything shook again. The ground was shaking and the mountain was covered with smoke and fire. They had no idea that this moment would be followed by being give the Law of God. This eathquake gave the people of God guidance they would need for their future and our earthquakes can do the same. Earthquakes have a way of shaking loose parts into the right places. Next we skip ahead to the death of Jesus in Matthew 27:51, “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked and rocks were split apart.” In my opinion this would have been the scariest of all the earthquakes. If you were one of Jesus’ disciples not only would this quake have physically shook you but emotional, spiritually, and mentally. I personlly think I might have began to question a lot of what I had heard from this Jesus guy. He said that He would save us but now He is gone… Of course we know that is not where this story ends and Jesus comes back to life to make right all of our wrongs. This is just the beginning of our redemption story and make earthquakes in our lives give us the change to start again and to do it right. This earthquake cleaned our slate in a drastic way. Then we hear of Paul and Silus being freed from jail by an earthquake in Acts 16:26, “Suddenly, there was such a huge earthquake that the very foundations of the prison were shaken. At once, all the doors flew open, and everyone’s chains were loosened.” Paul and Silus were freed from their bondage and had the ability to flee the jail but what did they do? They stayed put and so did all of the other prisoners. This teaches us that not every earthquake is a sign that we should run or make a drastic change. Many times it is just a chance for us to see thing in a different light. When this happened the jailer knew that he would be held accountable for all of the escaped prisoners and was planning on taking his own life but when Paul told him that everyone was still there the jailer praised the Lord and requested to be saved. The last earthquake is found in Revelation 6:12, “In my vision, when he broke open the sixth seal, there was a violent earthquake. The sun turned as black as coarse sackcloth, the moon became as red as blood,” This seems like a scary image, the sun turning black and the moon turning red, but if we choose to look past that we know that this is a sign of our homecoming. Even the scariest earthquakes can be a sign of great things to come.
Does this make you think differently about the earthquakes in your own life? I hope it does and I hope next time your world gets turned upside down you take the time to ask, how can I use this for the glory of God?