The shaking was violent
Our family was woken up abruptly near 12am to a 4.8 magnitude earthquake. Faster than the earthquake itself, fear had invaded our hearts. In a matter of seconds, my thoughts darted between “Are we ok?”, “How do we get the kids?”, to “What should we do?”.
As the moment passed and I laid back into bed, I thought about all the chaos this year has presented already–covid, political chaos, racial chaos, the fires, and now the earthquake. I struggled in that moment thinking about my personal safety and whether I should remain living here.
The next morning, in my time with God, I was serendipitously presented with my reflection for the day. It was the story of Jesus calming the storm.
Jesus is in the boat with this disciples, and a storm comes over. The amazing thing is that Jesus is sleeping on the boat during the storm.
How can someone sleep during a storm? They must have so much inner peace about the well-being of their life that storms do not bother them. And suddenly, the question that Jesus asked his disciples now is asked of me:
“Why are you afraid?”
The passage concludes with the marvel of the disciples who realized that “even the wind and the sea obey him.” Yes, Jesus is lord of creation. Yes, Jesus is even lord over the greatest storms of my life.
Peace filled my heart and I am reminded of a peace afforded the people of God that isn’t available for those who aren’t part of his flock.
I realized why flight and fear has gripped people’s hearts this year. It’s something about dealing with a pandemic, an earthquake, a fire, in other words, something so outside of our control that it shakes the foundations of who we are. Whether we know it or not, everyone’s sense of safety is set on some foundation. Whether it’s the amount of money in the bank, the family system we live in, the grandeur of our house, the insurance policy we have–something provides that safety to people.
And when something as large as the events that have occurred in 2020 happen, it is possibly, for the first time, the time that those foundations are suddenly compromised. And when people’s foundations are suddenly shaken, there is no easy substitute for a foundation. It really messes with people’s psyche.
However, a different effect has happened to me and is available to the people of God.
If anything, the shaking of this year has only served to reveal the idols other foundations have had for my core safety and instead placed God dead center.
There’s something about seeing the whole world shake around you that goes, “Well, every foundation in my life is gone, but now I have God,” and then realize God is the surest and strongest foundation available!
As a result, I have never felt more invincible in my life.
Come what may! I place no trust in anythjng that humans have used to contrive their own sense of safety. You couldn’t give me a billion dollars, an insurance plan, an island to live on–nothing. As the psalmist said, some trust in horses, some trust in chariots, but we trust in the name of our God!
I live with the fearlessness knowing that I will not die until the will of God is done in my life.
I don’t know if that’s this year, next year, or the next 20 years. All the shaking has done has is remove the fluff from my life, and has propelled me to roll up my sleeves and ask God, “Lord, what’s next? How can I be faithful to you until the day I die?”
It is not my safety that I worry about; only to hear, on the day I do pass, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And for the people of God, let those future words propel passion and fearlessness in our hearts.
Come what may!
Lord, put a fearlessness in your people today. We are not called to fear but to faith. Help us remove false idols and false safeties, and see that you are more than enough for us. And let that garner courage and focus in our lives such that we spend in our eternal purposes.