It’s 10:45pm on Tuesday and I’m getting ready for bed. Today a massive earthquake struck the city of Christchurch, NZ causing widespread damage and claiming at least 65 lives so far. It’s the second major earthquake that’s happened in the city in the last 5 months. The last one was in September, which was just one month before I left for New Zealand. Now, in just one week, I’m scheduled to fly to Christchurch to begin what is shaping up to be the adventure trip of my life so far, and that was before the earthquake. Suffice it to say, between hearing the news of the devastation and watching videos on the news, it’s been a sobering afternoon and evening.
I have a confession to make: my first thought upon hearing about the earthquake was a selfish one. The first thing that came to my mind was how inconvenient this is for my travel plans. Can you forgive me for that? It’s not often that I take the initiative to actually plan out my travel, but this is one instance where I’ve done a little bit of leg work and booked some bus tickets, accommodation and fun activities for my trip to the South Island. At this point, my trip is up in the air; there’s no guarantee that things will go as I’ve planned.
Confession aside, my thoughts and focus have moved appropriately to the people of Christchurch, and to their family and friends. Tonight I heard someone say, “Houses and property can be replaced, but lives can’t.” How true that is. I think of the widows and orphans in that city. Their lives are already difficult on a regular basis. A disaster like this takes a life that’s already turned upside down and increases the struggle even more. Power was out, phone lines were down, the streets were filled with gas. Frantic situations like this are scary for everyone, but who is there to support the ones who aren’t as capable? Please join me in praying for the well-being of everyone who’s been affected.
For me, this earthquake hits “close to home.” That is to say, I don’t really have a “home” at the moment, but this natural disaster will affect my life in the coming weeks. It serves as a very clear reminder that this world is not my home. What plans I make in life are never sure to work out the way I want them to. I may have to cancel plane flights, train rides and glacier hikes that I was really looking forward to. Insert reality check here. Personally, I’m aware of a feeling that’s lurking dangerously around the corner in my mind. It’s a feeling of unsettlement, of fear, of anxiety. You may be thinking that such a feeling would be well warranted given my current circumstances. But I don’t think that’s true at all. The truth is this: God says that he does not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and self control.
In this moment, during these times of uncertainty, I’m choosing to reject fear and embrace the Lord’s promise to be faithful and to keep watch over me.