February 4, 2019
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
From Our “Here”…
I was in the eighth grade and our family lived in Nairobi, Kenya, when on April 5, 1978, the region experienced a 4.7 magnitude earthquake. Our home was built of heavy fieldstone and gave the impression of immovable permanence. When the quake hit, it quickly became apparent looks are deceiving. It didn’t matter where you stood, everything was shaking.
The tremors did not last long, but in the middle of the event it seemed like an eternity. I felt absolutely helpless, realizing that no matter where I might run there was no place immune to the conditions our entire city was experiencing.
And then, quiet. Our home had suffered no damage that I can recall. At school the next day I heard stories of falling dishes and at least one cracked wall. By then, it all seemed like a shared adventure we could laugh about.
The Nairobi earthquake of 1978 lingers as a reminder of how little control I have over life. That’s a good thing to remember, because it makes me turn in faith to the One who controls not only my life but the grand course of time and space as well.
Is that control absolute? No, otherwise I could blame all my mistakes on God. But His wisdom is absolute, and He invites me to find my security and guidance in the truths He has shared abundantly in His Word.
That truth is stronger than any earthquake.
…To God’s “There”
Scripture connects a shaking earth with our unshakeable God. Psalm 46 ratchets up the metaphoric Richter scale to create a compelling picture of God as our ultimate refuge. Two narratives in Acts include quakes that coincided with key Great Commission events: A building shook as Christians in Jerusalem recommitted themselves to proclaim the gospel in spite of opposition (4:29-31); a prison quaked after Paul and Silas praised God in spite of being beaten and chained (16:25,26), then shared the gospel with their jailor.
What appears to make your life shake? A doctor’s shocking diagnosis? Economic reversals that touch your job or your retirement savings? Perhaps a marriage or another deep relationship that is crumbling. Are you anchored to your unshakeable Heavenly Father?
Making the Leap
Missionaries encounter earthquakes in the physical and spiritual realms. One of the most devastating earthquakes in recent memory—the 2004 Indian Ocean quake and tsunami—killed hundreds of thousands of people. AGWM was deeply involved in relief and recovery ministry for years afterward. Far more common are the personal crises that shake a missionary family and the local challenges that impact a church or community in which they minister. As you hold up AGWM team members in faithful prayer, you are connecting their needs with the One who is “our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”