The Shaking

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As the 7.6 earthquake vibrated through the core of our high-rise apartment, darkness prevented us from knowing the damage. We could feel the ground below rising and falling, and with every jolt, we assumed the upper floors’ weight was crushing those beneath. Fearful for our lives, we escaped down the stairwell and sleeplessly spent the rest of the night away from falling debris.

As we surveyed the damage the following day, we found our 25-story building had withstood the violence. Only cracked plaster, broken tiles, and a leaky gas pipe gave evidence to the destruction of the night before. Our building was constructed with flexible steel frames that embraced the shaking. Twisted steel cables within the structure allowed for movement but did not collapse. The contractor built our apartment with such a quake in mind so that we could move back in after a few weeks of repair.

Many others in Taiwan were not as fortunate. The earthquake rendered thousands of structures unsound or wholly destroyed. This island, which is slightly bigger than the state of Maryland, didn’t have enough freezer capacity to hold the 2,400 bodies in the morgue. The devastation was real.

Our world today has experienced its own shaking. In the last two years, we have all experienced loss. Looking through the rubble, we find evidence of the basis upon which our foundation rests. Some pick their way through the ruins to rebuild, while others have lost all ability to hope. Which are you?

The Bible tells us that our salvation is solid and secure. At least, in theory, we know that our Architect hasn’t used shoddy materials but designed us with the shaking in mind. Supposedly, no trial will come to us that is more powerful than the God Who is within us (1 Corinthians 10:13). A Divine Core allows us to withstand upheaval, but have we?

I have endured much groaning, creaking, and quaking since March 2020. Besides the worldwide pressures caused by Covid, I’ve been lied to, betrayed, and slandered. God allowed the adversary to agitate my life in such a way that everything that is not Kingdom strong may fall away (Hebrews 13:27).

As the dust settles and I survey the damage, I see if I built my hope on bedrock or upon sands of situations (Hebrews 6:19; Matthew 7:24-27). Either way, I find evidence of wounding. Even those made to embrace the shaking will sustain injury. How then can I be restored?

First, it’s important to remember the “me” God is working to restore. The New Bible Dictionary (L. L. Morris) says, “Restoration points to some such state as that of pre-fallen man.” Even though we find ourselves broken by personal earthquakes, God’s plan goes beyond merely returning us to the way we started. Author Rachel Schafer says, “He (God) doesn’t simply restore to the original condition, but delights in restoring and improving on the original.”

If our remodel is to be like God’s first design, then our recovery will be one in which He is our breath of Life (see Genesis 2:7). We are restored in the way we began, with the Presence of the Lord breathing His Spirit into us. We must let go of anything that cracked during the crisis so that recovery may stream from the Lord’s Presence within (Acts 3:19).

Consider your times of crisis. Whether your shaking was brutal or merely tedious, remember the promises He gave. Dwell on His designed purpose, rather than evil’s mal intent. We can speed our restoration by choosing thankfulness renewing our thinking (Romans 12:2). Hope in God alone, for He is the Contractor of choice for a firm foundation despite the fault lines (Hebrews 12:28).