Best of Daily Reflections: How Can I Live Well When Life Feels Like An Earthquake?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.

Psalm 75:3

Have you ever experienced an earthquake, a literal earthquake? If not, it's no picnic, let me tell you. One February morning when I was in eighth grade, I was jolted out of bed by a terrifying shaking. My house seemed to be roaring. Pictures hung on the walls were swinging. I didn't know whether to get up and run outside or to hide under my desk or to scream with fear. The quaking seemed to go on for minutes, though in fact it continued for only twelve seconds, followed by an eerie silence.

My house survived with minimal damage. Nobody among my family or friends was injured. My school was closed for a few days, which wasn't exactly bad news. But, only twenty miles away from where I lived, the damage was massive—hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, several hospital buildings destroyed, over 60 deaths.

When I read Psalm 75:3, I can't help but remember how it felt when the earth was literally quaking beneath me. Yet, I have had similar feelings at other times in life, times when the quaking wasn't literal, but metaphorical. Most people have experienced this kind of quaking. Some have known turmoil far beyond anything I have experienced, as victims of violent crime or war, as people who have lost love ones tragically, or similar "earthquakes."

Psalm 75:3 acknowledges the reality of such convulsions in life. There will be times when our "earth" quakes. In these times, we find ourselves looking for shelter or grasping for something we can hang onto. And, in these times, God speaks to us through the pen of the psalmist: "When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I am the one who keeps its foundations firm" (75:3).

Times of shaking will come. Our lives will be tossed around. Everything we count on might seem uncertain. And God does not prevent such turmoil. Yet the seismic activity is not the deepest reality. Behind and beneath the shaking of our lives is a greater truth, the truth of God's presence, the truth of God's strength, the truth of God's stability, the truth of God's trustworthiness. When our lives seem to be coming apart at the seams, we will find reassurance in God. The more we draw near to him, the more we will not fall apart. Rather, we will find strength and safety in the one who is with us always.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced an earthquake or some other natural disaster? What have been the most upsetting and tumultuous experiences of your life? In the midst of your "quaking," did you turn to God? What happened? Do you find yourself in an "earthquake" right now? Can you sense God's presence in the midst of the quaking?

PRAYER: Gracious God, how I praise you for your power and might. I praise you for your faithfulness and solidness. I praise you for being trustworthy and compassionate. I praise you for being present in my life.

When my life is quaking, may I open my heart to you and know that you are there. When I feel afraid, may I find peace in you. When I don't know where to turn next, may I turn always to you.

I pray today for those who are in the middle of an earthquake. I think of friends who are struggling with great problems. I think of those who live in the midst of violence each day. I think of people in Kenya who have recently lost loved ones because of terrorism. For these and so many others, I pray for your grace to be poured out. May they know you, O God, as the one who keeps the foundations firm. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.