Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Life's Earthquakes

I’m guessing that by now you’ve heard/read about the earthquake in Los Angeles that happened on Tuesday. It registered a 5.4 on the Richter scale. Some people were injured, almost all were shaken up (no pun intended there), but as of now, no major injuries or deaths reported. Therefore, the consensus seems to be that things could have been worse. In fact, some people, after feeling that earthquake, are concerned about experiencing the worst. Are they prepared? What can they do? How would they be affected?

Have you noticed how earthquakes can be like life? You cannot stop one from happening. Although you might be warned of an oncoming one with foreshocks of small tremors, you cannot accurately predict the occurrence of one. Even with the idea that one is coming, you likely have no indication of the strength or force of it. The effects can be felt long distances away from the epicenter. Really all you can do is make sure you are protected to the best of your ability and have a plan for what you will do if/when it hits. What about your spiritual life? How would you be affected by a major life earthquake? How do you prepare?
  • Insurance: You know the point of insurance, right? Insurance doesn’t keep a tragedy from happening, but helps you put your life back together when it does happens. It covers the gaps you are personally unable to fill. Your insurance during a spiritual catastrophe is a strong relationship with God. He may not keep that tragedy from occurring, but he will help you put your life back together after the fact. He will walk through that valley with you. Will the result be identical to the original life you had before the event? Of course not. You cannot live unaffected by it, but you can learn from it and rebuild with the help of a loving God.

  • Stability: I have always laughed to myself when a structure is built “earthquake proof.” You know, that’s not possible, right? A big one can bring down anything we make—even the strongest examples of our designs. What is truly meant by “earthquake proof” would probably more accurately be described as “earthquake resistant.” You know—not that it is impossible to be shaken, but it will rock with the waves and is designed in such a way to feel the least effected as possible. How do you keep the “structure” your living in as strong as possible—you know, earthquake resistant? My pursuing the will of God. You have to seek Him. You have to read your Bible, study it passionately, talk to God, listen to God, find the weak beams and replace them with stronger supports that can take the swaying and are less likely to buckle. You won’t achieve a PERFECT earthquake-proof state, but you will find one that can take f the shockwaves and absorb them.

  • Support: Finally, you need to be sure you have a group of friends and family that will support you in times of need. I don’t mean that you need to buddy up with a bunch of wealthy people that will financially support you. I am speaking people that will help the emotional and spiritual side of devastating event. Do you have people whom you can cry on their shoulder? It is important to have a supportive spouse to encourage you through a difficult time, but remember that they too might be emotionally impacted and you will both need friends who are directly unaffected by the event to provide the emotional support you need. Join a Bible study to meet people with similar states of life or spiritual goals. Find a mentor—someone you feel is spiritually stronger than yourself—and mimic them and learn how they became the person you desire to be (although be careful not to idolize them, as they too are human and have their own weaknesses). Find an accountability partner with whom you can check in with.

Catastrophes happen. We cannot stop them. However, we can be prepared to face them and we can rebuild.

You know, what I find interesting about earthquakes? They have a good side. They expose weaknesses and allow us a chance to rebuild with stronger materials. They bring out a sense of community, as people who have experienced them reach out and find a since of belonging and community. They rid your life of some unnecessary items. They make you appreciate those things that are really priceless over those things for which you can show a receipt. Sometimes I think that earthquakes--both geological and spiritual--can be a part of God’s plan for all of the above reasons.

For a theme and variation on this topic, please visit my finance-based blog Mrs. Nespy’s Frugal World. However I will put a disclaimer in here and note that even if you go through a financial disaster, all of the above tips are of great importance and can further assist you in getting through it.

By the way…all of the above photos are from the 1989 San Fransisco earthquake, which measured 7.1 on the Richter scale--not the one in L.A.. If you don’t remember that one, please don’t tell me because although I was only 10 when it happened, it is a vivid memory to me, and you’ll just make me feel old. Photos from these two links.


MyKidsMom said...

Great post Kaye. Reminds me of "when I am weak, then am I strong." It's a comfort to know we're not alone during difficult times, but I still dread them. I quess that's just part of being human. When people like Corrie Ten Boom went through the horrors of the concentrations camps, and still kept their faith in God, that just awes me. Could I make it through testing like that? I would hope so, but I pray I'll never have to find out.

Adam said...

Nice post. Some good practical advice on getting through the tough times with God.