Flying doesn’t terrify me. Usually I relax with a book and enjoy the quiet. Boats are fun, too. It’s exhilarating to skim the surface of the water. It’s peaceful to float aimlessly. And yet when the journey is over and my feet are once again on terra firma that niggling uncertainty disappears. No longer is gravity a deathly threat as it is in an airplane, and no one has ever been swept away by a riptide of Bermuda grass. Solid ground. I’m safe.
Maybe it’s living in tornado alley that has intensified this association of the ground under my feet with security. Here houses are firmly anchored in bedrock. Concrete slabs don’t move, even when swept clean by F5 tornadoes. And for many people finding a refuge underground has been the difference between life and death. The wind howls, the rain pelts, but the Earth isn’t going anywhere.
Until last week.
I know you fault-dwelling Californians might laugh, but last week I experienced my first earthquake. Actually, there were three that were long enough and strong enough to shake our entire house. Light fixtures swung, furniture scooted.
It was a new experience. That the ground – my security, my anchor – could roar, that it could shudder and move was disorienting. Intellectually I knew about earthquakes, but that fickle, moving soil – that wasn’t my soil. Our fields are faithful. We can count on them to anchor buildings and to protect us from deadly winds, right?
Last week I learned that the answer is No. The Earth is not my fortress. It is not permanent. It is not unshakable. In fact, nothing I see or touch will endure. Someday the very foundations of this planet will dissolve, leaving us only with the unseen, but we who believe are not to fear. We are safe – not because we have both feet on the ground, but because our souls are in God’s hands.
Is this too much to read into a natural event? I don’t think so. Someone asked my pastor if God was trying to tell us something through these earthquakes. His answer?
“Absolutely. He’s also trying to tell us something with each sunrise, when it is stormy, and when the winds are still. He’s trying to get our attention each day when we wake up, and He wants us to think of Him each evening when we see the stars and moon. Everything we see and experience is a call and an opportunity to seek the Lord.”
Well, God has my attention. I’m grateful for another reminder that the grass withers, the flowers fade, the foundations of the Earth will shift, but my Savior is steadfast. He will not be shaken.