Psalm 46:1-5, 10 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though it's waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. ... Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
I had the great privilege of being in Tohoku, Japan, on March 11, 2013. That was the two-year anniversary of what has become known as the Great East Japan Earthquake, the fourth largest earthquake recorded since technology enabled such measurements. Having spent years of my childhood in Tokyo, I was eager to return to my family's home and see with my own eyes, hug with my own arms, those who had been devastated, yet survived. So, emotion ran deep as I stood on the barren shoreline that breezy Monday morning.
Foundations of buildings were laid bare, exposing the massive destruction, demonstrating the immense clean-up from the previous two years. Ten-foot-tall cubes of compacted trash lined the side of the road on our way to this particular "beach." Two years after the storm raged, the solemn desolation in that place was still palpable. This was a place where land had quite literally trembled and been swallowed into the sea.
In the center of this barren landscape, a single cross had been erected on the crumbling foundation where a Christian church once stood. The closest building still standing was an elementary school some 500 meters inland. As I imagined the fear those children and teachers must have experienced, my sister, who was a local relief worker, told me the story of the church that had parted the waters. While children climbed to the school rooftop for safety, rising waters broke around the church building, giving precious time for the children to get to the school roof. The church then collapsed and floated away with the rest of the buildings awash in that powerful tsunami. Teachers reported it was the church building between them and the oncoming waters that gave them time to safely move the children from the lower floors before the force of the water began breaking through windows.
Is there shaking ground in your life? For many of us, there are times when whole chunks of our story can get washed away, and we must start over to make meaning, pick up the pieces, or begin a whole new story. It is then, like the comfort conveyed by that lone cross, that Jesus reminds us to come to Him, to seek Him in faith and repentance. He will carry our burdens, wipe away our tears, and establish us on solid ground, even when it seems all has been washed away.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when the world comes apart around us, help us rest in Your promises and abide in Your salvation -- won for all on Calvary. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by AmyRuth Bartlett.
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