On Earthquakes and Fear

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Fear is one of those things that each human has to face. There are many famous quotes about fear. There are many passages in the Bible that deal with fear. But I, for one, feel like fear is one of my greater struggles.

For example, in 2010 I was in a car accident that I caused because I fell asleep. Ever since then, I have had a fear of driving. I don’t have to face it when I’m abroad, because I rely completely on public transportation. Or, when I watch documentaries about food and the arguments for strictly eating organic vegetables and grass-fed meat, I become fearful of what I put into my body because there are no options for organic here.

But then there come seasons of earthquakes in a part of the world where earthquakes are not a normal part of life. The city panics. The people panic. My students are crippled with fear. In the last month we have encountered 4 earthquakes and for some reason, people in my city are convinced that tomorrow (?!?!) there will be an earthquake. They have canceled some schools, parents are coming to fetch their children, panic. The advice I was given was to buy instant noodles and water. Perfect.

How do you face a situation like this? No one really knows what’s gonna happen. Actually, there could be an earthquake anywhere in the world and God, will still be sovereign. But when everyone around you is responding to their fear in serious ways, what do I do?

I talked to some family members, they gave their suggestions for “what to do”. Yet, there are no ideal places to go here for “safe shelter”. This city is comprised almost entirely of high buildings all made with tons of concrete. I teach on a high floor, and live on a high floor. There’s not a whole lot that you can do– oh and the people on campus don’t know what to do either.

I sat and talked to my heavenly father. I wanted to turn to the Psalms but I didn’t know which one. I asked and I turned to Psalm 34, started reading, then smiled. Comfort from truth is like none other. “Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.” // “Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” This fear is a totally different kind of fear from what the people around me experience. This is a healthy fear, this is the fear that I want to have. I steady my heart on the truth of His promises, I don’t want to live any other way.

In life or death– my anchor holds. And hey, What ever happens, I’m headed to a place that won’t be shaken (heb 12:28).

My hope is not in these buildings, this city, or what people say, but in the maker of the universe. He’s got this.

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