The Bare Soul
March 13, 2011
Psalm 18:7 - Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry.
Throughout our lifetimes, we hear or read about various natural disasters that are cataclysmic in scope. At the time of this writing, the news story of the 8.9 Richter-scale earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan is only a few hours old. New information continues to flow out of Japan regarding the loss of life and property. Many are saying the most surprising thing about this massive quake was its total surprise. With all the effort given to measuring fault lines and seismic data, this one literally "shocked" the scientific community. There were no apparent "rumblings" that would have made this one subject to prediction. With all of our supposed knowledge about the earth and its tectonic meanderings, we still can't accurately predict earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, or for that matter, meteorological and atmospheric changes created by these abrupt disturbances.
After something as devastating as events such as this, the question is often asked ... "Why?". Some folks that don't believe in God will chalk it up to a "natural lotto" that occurs at the whim of nature. Then there are those who believe in a Creator. Many will ask, "If there is a God, then why does He allow things like this to happen to His creation? If He is a God of love this seems to be such a contradiction regarding His supposed loving nature!" What many fail to understand is that the earth has been operating under a curse since man's fall in the Garden of Eden. Paul tells us in the book of Romans that the earth groans and travails for redemption from its fallen state (Romans 8:22). Through this travail, there will be rumblings in the earth and upon it. Jesus tells in Matthew 24:7 that there will be earthquakes in various places as the end draws near. In the 20th century alone, more people died from earthquakes than from all that century's wars (see Twentieth Century Earthquakes - Confronting an Urban Legend). Some argue there have been more seismic disturbances in the past century than in combined centuries in the past two millennia. We can only surmise that the earth is trying to tell us something. For those of us who believe in God and His scripture, it is only confirmation of the inevitable. One day soon the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back to redeem not only His people but a planet that has been scarred by man's sin for thousands of years. Until that day, God will continue to use natural disasters such as this terrible earthquake in Japan to awaken His most prized creation to His love.
Some might say, an earthquake is a strange way to show the love of the Lord. Those of us who believe in Jesus Christ know that God causes all things to happen for a purpose. Paul tells us in the book of Romans that there is nothing that happens that God doesn't use for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). Even though the Father is angry at the proliferation of sinfulness upon the earth, doesn't mean that He loves His most noble creation any less. (This would be like claiming that a parent doesn't love a child merely because they have angered their parent due to disobedience.) A case can be made for His mighty love being poured out more than a hundred years ago as a result of another devastating earthquake. The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is still the greatest natural disaster to ever occur in the United States. It is estimated to have been a 7.9 earthquake (a full point below that of Japan's) that turned out to be secondary to the huge fire which resulted in its seismic aftermath. By today's standards, it is estimated to have resulted in approximately 8.2 billion in damage. No one is quite certain, but officials from this period estimate that over 3,000 lost their lives while over 200,000 of a 400,000 population were left homeless. Yet, from this widespread loss of property and life, God caused life to spring from the ashes. Frank Bartleman, who chronicled the Azusa Street Revival of 1906 in Los Angeles, believed that it wasn't a coincidence that the earthquake occurred in the very same month as the outpouring of God's Spirit 500 miles south of the epicenter. He wrote in his book the following: The San Francisco earthquake was surely the voice of God to the people on the Pacific Coast. It was used mightily in conviction, for the gracious after revival. Through the result of sin's curse, the devil was having a heyday of murder and mayhem through the devastation of that fateful day in San Francisco more than a hundred years ago. Yet, there was God Almighty pouring out His Spirit and granting repentance through His kindness (Romans 2:4). While the earthquake in San Francisco has little lasting impression today on this vast metropolis, God's outpouring on the Pacific coast more than a hundred years ago is still bearing fruit. From this move, the entire Pentecostal movement originated. Denominations such as Pentecostals, Church of God, and Assemblies of God sprang up as a result of this gracious outpouring. The Lord only knows how many souls have been reaped into His kingdom through the result of sin's curse and the mercy of His love.
We all mourn for the loss of what the Japanese people are experiencing. Their tremendous loss is something that most of us cannot comprehend. However, those of us who know the Lord must believe that He will indeed bring good out of this calamity. The devil is certainly rejoicing because of the loss of life and destruction in Japan. However, we must know that God is strategically using this horrible disaster to bring glory to His Name. As Christians, we have the responsibility to help in whatever way the Lord directs. Most of all, these people need prayer that God would not only meet their physical and emotional needs, but that He would give them the greatest gift of all -- redemption from sin. The Lord is still God Almighty and will always be. His hand did not cause this calamity, but He will use it to bring His Name glory. May those of us who know the Lord as the Savior of the world go before His throne and seek Him for a great deliverance for the Japanese people. May revival spread over the Japanese peninsula and shake the world for God's glory!
Lord God Almighty, though the earth may shake through the curse of sin, You will shake the nations with Your glory. Help those who are most in need in the Far East, granting many salvation through Your loving grace. These are but a foreshadowing of the time of the end of creation, Lord. Help us to heed the times and to seek Your face for those in need of Your love. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Your Barefoot Servant,
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