Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
On December 16, 1811, near New Madrid, Missouri, the first of over 200 earthquakes hit the lower Mississippi Valley and continued into March of 1812. Aftershocks lasted several years. Ten times more powerful than the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the series of quakes changed the course of the Mighty Mississippi for a time, instantly dried up lakes and formed new ones. On Feb. 7 a quake of 8.8 magnitude caused church bells to ring from the shaking, in Boston, thousands of miles away.
Covering more than 50,000 square miles and moderately felt over a million, the most powerful quakes caused landslides and were accompanied by lightning and roaring sounds. In spite of the small population of settlers in the southwest at that time, it is estimated that over one thousand people died. Records show that residents as far north as Canada believed the world was coming to an end.
Merely reading about such a calamity gives me goosebumps. It brings to mind the story of Moses on Mount Sinai speaking with God. Then, too, the Lord showed His mighty power with lightning and thunder and fire. No wonder the Israelites feared they would die if they approached Him.
The Bible speaks often of God’s power and holiness, yet it tempers such words with those about the peace and comfort He offers. Shepherds caring for their sheep near Bethlehem one night felt fear and shock at an angel’s voice. Yet because of the angel’s message of hope, their fear turned to joy and peace as they eagerly followed directions to the simple barn that held their long-awaited Savior.
As the humble shepherds chose to believe in their coming Messiah through the teaching of Old Testament prophecies, we too can trust in God’s Word. “The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
The Word of God is more powerful than any earthquake. When read with an open heart, it can send shockwaves that can change the course of our lives. Like the Mississippi that flowed in an opposite direction for a time, His Word can cause lives to change 180 degrees. It did for me. It can for you.
Lord, thank You for Your powerful Word that is stronger than the strongest earthquake. Cause us to wholeheartedly embrace and obey Your Word through faith in Your beloved Son, Jesus, whose humble birth we celebrate with joy.