An 8.9 earthquake in Japan?!?
That was the news that greeted me Friday morning when I checked my email.
I live in California, not far from the coast. I can’t see the coast from my house; a large ridge separates us (and protects us from tsunamis, in case you were wondering). But, I’m not that far from the coast. And our house is very close to the San Andreas Fault. In fact, our local water supply is stored in a reservoir located over that faultline, and that’s a mere half-mile from our house. There are lovely walking/biking trails along the reservoir, and my husband often goes biking there.
California is earthquake country. It’s known for earthquakes. And there’s always talk about how the Big One is coming. There was the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 that knocked down a portion of the Bay Bridge, leveled a section of freeway in San Francisco (that the city decided not to rebuild), and shook up Candlestick Park as a World Series game was being played there. We have earthquakes.
I’ve felt two small quakes since living here. I hardly realized they were quakes until they were over, and we had no damage from them.
But the news of this big quake was scary. Very scary. What if that happened here???
Now, logically, it seems that the tsunami resulting from the 8.9 quake did more damage in Japan then the actual quake itself. And, there’s just no way a tsunami could hit us here. But a quake would cause a lot of damage in the Bay Area. Our lifeline, especially for those of us who live on the Peninsula, is our bridges: the Dumbarton, the San Mateo, the Bay, and the Golden Gate (not to mention two other bridges up in the North Bay). If a big quake were to compromise any one of those bridges (or, God forbid, all of them), it would be catastrophic for the Bay Area.
Whew. That’s a lot to handle.
But … I’m a Christian. I’m not supposed to be scared of these things, right?
This is where it comes in handy to be married to a pastor. I asked my dearly loved husband if it was a sin to be scared about big natural disasters. He told me no. “Read the Psalms,” he said. “They’re full of emotion. Having emotions in itself is not a sin.” He went on to say that it’s what’s in our head and our heart of faith that counts; we can’t control our emotions.
Well, that was a comfort. I thought about that some more and remembered that shortest of all passages in the Bible: “Jesus wept.” Jesus had an emotional response to a sad situation. It’s okay for me to have emotional responses, too.
That made me logically feel a bit better. As far as healing my emotions goes, I quickly decided that the best plan for me would be to NOT watch the news reports, and be cautious about reading stories and looking at pictures about the Japan earthquake on the internet. Thankfully, the San Francisco Giants were having their first pre-season baseball game tonight, and that was being televised beginning at 6pm, so I had something calming to watch on TV while I made supper.
A number of people on Facebook today were posting this passage from the Psalms, and when I was reminded of this passage, I posted it, too:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in touble, therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its water roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46: 1-3
God created the world, and he is still in control. These quakes and storms, wars and rumors of wars, uprisings and dangerous times all serve to remind Christians of one thing: Jesus WILL return.
[Jesus said] “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” — Matthew 24:6-8
Like a woman in labor, whose pain gets worse before her pain is finally over and she is presented with her child, these turbulent last days will only get worse. These are God’s reminders to his people to repent and be always ready. I’ll admit that part of me is still scared to see the Last Day, but my logical, faith-centered side is eager to begin living the joys of heaven.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
And help me not to be afraid until you finally do come.