Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shake It Up!

 Last week's post influenced by the hurricane stole this post's thunder.  Oh well, better late than never:

CC image courtesy of Jaymi Heimbuch on Flickr

~ I am pleased to inform you I survived the 2011 Virginia earthquake with little to no story to report. Building structures sustained little damage, all in all. More importantly, there were minor injuries and no reported deaths, making the 5.8 East Coast earthquake a relatively well-behaved one in my opinion. No, this geological phenomena wasn't God pouring out His wrath on a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. However, while news teams focused on logistics, statistics, and the random local story of a supermarket customer getting hit in the head by kamikaze soup cans, I believe God was broadcasting His own “Breaking News” coverage. The question is, Are we tuning in to His frequency?

If you think I'm going to say God has something to teach us through an earthquake, you get a gold star. While earthquakes don't have the greatest reputation, they are undeniably a part of creation. FEMA defines an earthquake as “a ground shaking caused by a sudden movement of rock in the Earth's crust.” More specifically, Earth has tectonic plates which move around under its surface, sliding past and bumping into one another. The edges of the plates are rough, causing them to oftentimes get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. Over time, this causes friction and pressure to build up between the plates. The plates are held in place by friction along a fault, or fracture between two blocks of rock. When a plate finally moves far enough, its edges unstick.  This motion causes a sudden amount of energy to be released in the form of seismic waves, which travel through the earth.  The shaking that we feel is the movement of the seismic waves under the Earth's surface.  In the case of the recent Virginia earthquake, reports that seismic waves could be felt as far north as Canada and as far south as Georgia caused jaws to drop.  After all, while a 5.8 earthquake is significantly great for the East Coast, it shrivels in comparison to the popular tremors of its West Coast sister, or the devastating 9.0 Great East Japan Earthquake.

Then God spoke to me:  Size doesn't matter in the kingdom of God, Amanda.  The Lord then reminded me that He calls the small and insignificant to do big things in this world.  Stories that model this lesson for us fill the Bible.  The names of Joseph, Rahab, David, Esther, and Ruth are only a few of the “smaller” people that God used for bigger purposes.  If we look at what each of these characters had in common that led to them being honored by God above others, we will find one simple answer: They each had a humble and willing heart.  Because of their ready hearts, the Lord was able to greatly manifest His power through their lives.

One thing that I have learned from the Bible is that earthquakes can occur when the power of God is upon us. Matthew 26:51 describes an earthquake occurring immediately at the point Jesus gave His spirit to be with the Lord in heaven.  In Matthew 28:2, we read that an earthquake occurs when Mary of Magdala and the other Mary go to look at Jesus's tomb, only to find He had risen and an angel sitting upon a boulder.  As I ponder what a modern-day earthquake has to do with us, the thought strikes me that when an individual has God in their heart and seeks to do His will on Earth, magnificent things can happen. God can cause that one willing person to cause a rumbling in the spirit.

Please bear with me as I paint a spiritual earthquake parallel of sorts.  As a Christian, you may notice that oftentimes when trying to step out and be who God called you to be, you are met with resistance—much like the plates that move back and forth against one another under the Earth's surface.  People may discourage you by saying you can't do something that your heart is set on.  Others may try to persuade you to live a different life if you are choosing to live opposite of their “normal.”  If you feel pressure, don't lose heart.  That's just the Earth calling out for you-- the sons and daughters of God-- to arise.  Keep pressing toward God, straining forward to the prize. Sooner or later, you're going to push so hard toward your destiny and calling that one day you're going to feel a break.  There's going to be an “unsticking” of plates, if you will, in the spiritual realm as you move away from the norm and into the higher things to which God has called you.  That breaking away is going to cause a rumble in the spirit.  People will be affected by you as you step boldly into the shoes of the person God always called you to be. There will be no turning back then.  People will feel the effects of God's energy flowing through you to them no matter if they are near or far.  You're capable of creating seismic waves, yourself, beloved.  It doesn't matter if you are a 1 or 10 on the Richter Scale.  The point is that you have a willing heart that is focused and determined to shake things up for God's sake.  Does this mean we do things a little differently than the rest of the world?  Of course, but no worries lest we forget that Jesus also caused waves.  Some people didn't like the way Jesus shook things up, but that didn't stop him from accomplishing the mission God sent him to complete on Earth. (Thank God!)

As we follow our Heavenly Father's voice which leads us to accomplish our own mission on Earth, we would be wise to look to the model He gave us.  Jesus, himself, teaches us to pray for God's will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  (Matthew 6:10)  If you will, take a moment and contemplate these words before asking yourself,  “What exactly do we think is going on in Heaven?”  Lots of joy?  Sure.  Peace? Absolutely.  Worship?  Yes.  The power of God?  You'd better believe it.  Jesus isn't simply reciting pretty words that we can repeat in church service...He is instructing us to pray that the things in Heaven be brought to Earth!  It doesn't matter how insignificant you think you are.  The power of God is what will change the world.  The question is do we have a ready and willing heart which He can move through?  I hope so, friends because one things for sure...

God is ready to shake things up! ~