Not two months ago I wrote about Earthquakes and God and included these lines:
But ultimately disasters wherever they occur should make us look to ourselves. Jesus’s words to those reporting the local news to Him should drive us to our knees: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Last night—actually early this morning, at 4:04—a quake hit Southern California. If those of you living in another country or another part of the US didn’t hear about this, don’t be surprised because this temblor was small—only 4.4, compared to the 8.8 Chilean quake and the 7.0 Haitian quake. No buildings down, no people hurt, trapped, or dead. In fact, very little damage.
But for me it was a wake up call. Well, not really because I was already awake and reading.
The one important point I haven’t mentioned yet is the epicenter of this quake. To be honest, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the report came in that it was under my apartment building.
The first thing I felt and heard, simultaneously, was a crash as if a large something had slammed into the side of the building. Then a shaking as if a giant had gripped the building in two hands and was shaking it like someone would a tree in an effort to bring down an apple in the top branches or a ball that was lodged among the leaves.
It didn’t last long–ten seconds maybe.
But here’s the thing. Amid car alarms blaring into the morning darkness, I turned on the TV to find out where the epicenter was (close, and nothing to worry about because I’d felt the worst of it; or far, and there might be considerable damage).
Turns out, I was about as close to the epicenter as it felt. This quake was approximately three miles closer to me than the Whittier Narrows temblor some twenty plus years ago. That one, centered about five miles from me, killed eight people and caused millions of dollars of damage.
But back to the TV and the point of this post. Every morning news program carried coverage of this quake at once. They knew when and where and how hard and even how deep (a little over ten miles down so it was felt over a far range even though it wasn’t that hard). And they started taking phone calls, asking people what they felt, if it had wakened them, and if they were prepared.
The media puts big stock here in people being prepared for “The Big One.” We are all to have an emergency supply of water, clothes, food, batteries, radio, and now, apparently, a generator, since several of the callers mentioned that.
All this “be prepared” talk is about weathering the days after a devastating quake. No talk about preparing to die. No talk about the spiritual implications of something so uncontrollable as a quake or a string of quakes. Why aren’t we talking about where God is in all this?
Oh, I suppose most Christians were scared off the topic by what Pat Robertson said after the quake in Haiti. But God makes it clear in places in the Bible like Isaiah that He brought war and famine and drought and natural disasters as a warning to the nations or as punishment for their sins.
There are so many passages I’d like to quote, but let me finish with this one:
Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place; Burning is His anger and dense is His smoke; His lips are filled with indignation And His tongue is like a consuming fire;
His breath is like an overflowing torrent, Which reaches to the neck, To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve, And to put in the jaws of the peoples the bridle which leads to ruin.
– Isa 30:27-28
Preparation? The only preparation that matters is for us to go to our faces before God and plead for his mercy and for revival in our land.