Within minutes my twitter and facebook feeds were full of tremor talk about the Earthquake that hit the East Coast today, August 23, 2011.
Questions like “Did you feel it?” “Any Damage to report” “Where were you during the quake?” were cluttering my screen.
As my rocking chair gently shook, I had no idea that the sensation was an earthquake. We live near an airport and often the vibrations of infrequent turbo jets cause a slight tremor. An email from my husband and subsequent seismic sleuthing yielded the answers to “What was that?” A 5.9 Earthquake located in Virginia was felt by my friends as far south as South Carolina, and as far north as New York. One friend in Columbus reported the eerie sensation as well.
It caused me to ponder power, friction and vibrations.
According to the US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY site: An earthquake is what happens when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another. The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane. The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts is called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.
I immediately cued up my Netflix to watch a documentary on Earthquakes. It was awesome. Did you know that seismic waves can travel more than 15,000 miles per hour? That is way faster than a bullet. Did you know that in 2010 more than one quarter of a million people perished in Earthquake disasters?
Watching the footage of the devastation wrought by Earthquakes last year in Haiti and Chile was quite disturbing. The power unleashed actually lifted the coastline of Chile. The magnitude of the quake essentially altered the length of our day albeit by hundredth of a second, but it was THAT powerful.
While scientists have studied for 50 years the how and why’s of earthquakes, they are very clear about the fact that predicting when one will occur with any accuracy at all is still impossible.
So what does the Bible say about Earthquakes and when they were recorded? There are about 17 mentions of earth shaking and rock shattering events. One of my favorites was recorded in Exodus 19:18 when Mt. Sinai shook prior to Moses receiving the 10 Commandments. Perhaps God was ensuring he had Moses’ full attention. That event is mentioned again in Hebrews 12:18-21.
When God was speaking to Elijah at Mt. Sinai in 1 Kings 19:11 he used an Earthquake to show Elijah who had been hiding in a cave that God didn’t have to use a mighty voice, but simply could reveal himself in the still small voice that followed.
And my all time favorite was right after the death of Christ. In Matthew 27:51-54 it said as Jesus died on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn and rocks were broken. That quake and the circumstances surrounding it made the soldiers realize the man they crucified was truly the son of God.
While there were several compelling verses, the two below spoke to me.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. ~ Mark 13:8
Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire. ~ Isaiah 29:6
Now in my limited research it is obvious that God used earthquakes to get the attention of people he was trying to communicate with. Many big Biblical events are punctuated with earthquakes. (At least 17 times)
So it made me wonder about the latest earthquake. It hit the East Coast which is not a real hotbed for seismic activity and on its heels ironically (or perhaps not) comes Hurricane Irene. If God is truly the same unchanging God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, what is he trying to communicate and to whom?
Point to Ponder: Is there someone left on your “to do” list for sharing the gospel? Has God been impressing upon you a mission or a direction he’d like you to go? Heed his punctuation. Go! and Do!