I felt the earth move beneath my feet last Tuesday. Literally. Despite the fact that I was 250 miles removed from the epicenter of last week’s earthquake in Mineral, VA, I still felt its tremor. Its duration indicated to me that it was something more than just my imagination. My first thought was to attribute the shaking to Ft. Bragg. Their routine operations are sometimes accompanied by large booms that usually rattle the walls of my home. My second thought was one very loosely tied to the “rapture,” but after a minute’s worth of shaking and no trumpet sound, I moved forward with my third thought—call Billy.
“Billy, did you feel that?”
“That shaking. Honey, I think we’ve had an earthquake.”
“Do you want me to come home?”
“No. I’ve survived worse. Forget I called.”
Figures. Billy and I are rarely on the same page when it comes to noticing things. Accordingly, I called my son who attends the university just miles from our home. I received a similar response from him, although he made no offers to come home and check on me. Then I called my mom. Same story. Thinking, perhaps, that I did imagine it, I went to the one place where all good researchers go when looking for reliable information.
I logged onto Facebook.
Well, it was a start; a fairly good one this time around. At least my friend Shirley directed me to turn on the news where, in fact, I did learn that an earthquake with a 5.8 magnitude had occurred. Not in Fayetteville, but rather 250 miles to the north in Virginia.
Wow. Some earthquake, some shaking, some kind of deep quaking beneath the surface of the earth that it would reach this far. What kind of tremor does that? I know. Those of you on the West Coast are laughing at us; go ahead. Call me when a hurricane threatens your seaboard. I’ve got it all over you on that one. I suppose we’ve all got some shaking, some wind, some storm threatening its witness in our lives, do we not? Better not to compare; better to live prepared!
Which brings me back around to a thought about the earthquake of last week. A good thought. I have my Ohio friend, Juanita, to thank for it. She didn’t know she was supplying it to me; her experience (some 450 miles northwest of the epicenter) spurred me along in my thinking. After talking with my husband, son, and mother and receiving no back-up support regarding the tremor I’d just experienced, I called Juanita to report the news.
“Guess what, friend? I’ve just survived my first earthquake!”
“Really? Me, too!”
“Yes, I felt it here as well.”
“Where were you when it happened?”
“I was sitting out on my back porch, being still and enjoying the summer afternoon, when I felt the cement slab beneath my feet begin to shake.”
Instantly, I knew. I got it. I understood the reason why she and I felt the tremor and others did not.
We were both being still in the moments preceding its arrival. She on her porch; me on my couch. Think about that for a moment, and let it sink deeply into your heart. You could probably preach the sermon from this point forward, but in case you’re getting a slow start to your thought processes this week, I’ll offer you mine.
What lies beneath—the quaking, trembling, soul-stirring shakings of our hearts—often go unnoticed when we are consumed by the quaking, trembling, earth-stirring shakings of our world. When the noise in our external becomes too loud, too busy, too full of the clanging, clamoring cymbals of temporal value, we are prone to missing the whispers of the eternal. Whispers that, when heard, have the capacity to shake us, wake us, and move us to a place of unparalleled intimacy with God. If we never take the time to be still before the Lord, we run the risk of excluding his voice from our everyday doings.
Rarely will God interrupt our busyness with his insistence. Not that he isn’t speaking, isn’t always presenting himself to us throughout our days so that he might better be known by his children. But rather, God sometimes best reveals himself to our hearts in quiet places of contemplation—moments when we slow down, sit down, and allow our minds room enough and time enough to pause and consider life beyond the externals … the “what and who” that lie beneath our surface.
If we could get this, Christian, if we could see the value of our “beneath,” then Facebook wouldn’t be able to contain the amount of first-hand reports of the soul-quakes happening across our nation. Facebook (as my boys like to say) would blow-up with the witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. So would the news channels. So would the phone lines. If all of us would be willing to take the time to tend to our quietness instead of lending all our time to the noisiness in our lives, then the soul-shaping, heart-stirring work of the Lord would go forth in manifold measure.
God’s shaking, God’s quaking, and God’s tremors not only would be felt in Mineral, VA, in Navarre, OH, and in Fayetteville, NC, but also in and around the place that you call home. The magnitude would far exceed a 5.8 on the Richter scale, because God’s magnitude quakes eternally. There’s no measuring his impact. There are no borders to contain his witness. He’s just that big and beyond and so much more than we’re willing to cede to him on any given day.
And this, my friends, is a great tragedy. To live with less of Jesus is to never really live at all. To stay stuck at Ground Zero without ever considering the “what and who” of our beneath, is to live temporarily, without focus and without an anchor. What is seen above is limited to fixed parameters. What is seen below? Well, his depth is limitless, tethered to the eternal—the Epicenter of all humanity. Tap into that kind of understanding and the earth breaks open with the truth of the kingdom!
Would you take some time to get quiet before the Lord this week so that you might feel the tremors of home? It’s time to give God room enough and time enough in your day to shake you so that you might awaken to the reality of your “beneath,” and so that when friends call you and ask, “Did you feel that?” you can respond with your “Yes, I felt it as well.”
What truth and understanding are ours as children of the Most High God! Be still, and know that he is God. As always,
Peace for the journey,