One week ago today. How does time go so slow and so fast all at once? We still experience the occasional tremor, often in the middle of the night, but we are back in our home, back in our third floor flat as if nothing has happened. And yet, as we put things back on shelves, and sweep and mop, and piece our lives and our home back together, we are learning to accept a “new normal.”
With every large truck that passes by, with every airplane that rattles our windows, every roll of thunder during the storms or rumbling footsteps of the children dashing up and down the flight of stairs outside our door and over our heads, which all sound so much like the threat of an oncoming earthquake, our hearts race and we prepare for the trembling that never comes. It seems that we are stuck in high alert. Half our attention is on living our lives, while the other half remains braced for the worst. I watch it in our friends. I notice their eyes glance toward the window that shook from the wind, I watch them in a room together pause at a sound, knowing we are all waiting for the same thing. Usually these days, as the aftershocks continue to decrease, it is a false alarm, but there remains on occasion the instance where our instincts do not mislead us, and the tremor comes, and we pray, and we react, and in the blink of an eye it’s over and life resumes.
The reality is that those that have lost much, and those that have lost little to none in this event have all lost something – our sense of security. We are all living with an underlying fear, having lost the ability to feel safe in our homes, to rest easy at night knowing our loved ones are safe, to trust our surroundings and function on a “normal” level. And reality also points us to this, that we truly have suffered so little. My heart breaks thinking of the thousands who are wishing that their security was all that was lost. It hasn’t been until today, until writing this very blog that I’ve really and truly let it settle in, and I am in tears.
I weep for those who are suffering and in pain. I weep for those who are now homeless, who have stood in the aftermath of this event staring at the rubble of their former home in shock and disbelief. I weep for those who are mourning the loss of those they love, and for those that are lost and losing hope as they wait to be found. I weep for those who were taken too soon – taken before someone told them the hope of the gospel, before they ever had a chance to hear the name of Jesus, before they ever came to know true love and peace – and in a sense I feel that we have failed them as Christians.
And then I am pointed once again to the hope and freedom we have in Jesus Christ. And in an event such as this it is the hope that God is with us, and God has stayed his hand from destroying this nation completely. We see it in the details. The location of the epicenter. Had it been shifted in either direction the damage could have been worse, with more loss of life in either of the major cities it landed between. It could have happened during the week when the children were in school and families were separated. It could have happened in the middle of the night, leaving so many more trapped in their homes, but it didn’t. It happened during the day, when people were awake and able to react quickly. The freedom that we have is this, that in the wake of tragedy people are looking for hope and for answers. We are free to share Christ with them with complete and total abandon because in the midst of suffering and loss Jesus shines brightly as one who understands and offers peace and life and truth, and we should not remain silent and hesitate to offer healing to the ones who need it most.
The Lord will rebuild this nation. He will rebuild this city. And he will do even more – He will rebuild lives from the very rubble they have been broken down to, and through Jesus Christ they will be glorious, and He will be glorified.
Weep with us over this nation, and pray with us for their rebuilding.
“But I, the Lord, will rebuild your city with precious stones; for your foundation I will use blue sapphires. Your fortresses will be built of rubies, your gates of jewels, and your walls of gems. I will teach your children and make them successful. You will be built on fairness with no fears of injustice; every one of your fears will be taken far from you.” – Isaiah 54:11-14