Jesus Did It!
By: Mary Adams
Years ago I stood on a creekside bank in the middle of the night. The sirens had awakened us after a fitful sleep during a monstrous thunderstorm, with pounding rain and hail. Usually, such signals meant a tornado was nearby...but not this night. We could hear an unfamiliar roar from the creek just below our house. And as we quickly dressed and ran outside, there were already fire trucks with searchlights on the swirling waters which were almost reaching the banks where we stood. Never had they been that high before. But little did we realize that this was not all rain...the dam had burst; and what we were seeing was water from the lake cascading down the creek bed...there were houses being swept away, with terrified people clinging to rooftops and tree limbs. I watched helplessly with hundreds of others as friends we knew lost their lives. It was a horrible experience I will never forget.
In Alaska, we have the early-warning tsunami center which monitors earthquakes worldwide to see if they might generate one of those devastating undersea waves which travel at incredible speed to hit shorelines like some monster shark with his mouth wide open.
Every year I go down to a little town called Seward, situated in a beautiful bay, surrounded by glaciers and tall mountains. Idyllic. Yet when the 1967 earthquake struck Alaska, a tsunami came rushing up the inlet like a freight train and literally swallowed ships, oil tanks, and railroad cars which are yet to be found. They simply vanished, with great loss of life included.
The unexpected tragedies of life sometimes hit us with the force of a tsunami. Suddenly, we find all our priorities and plans are swept away and the life we once knew is like a picture which has been turned around to face the wall. We are left totally devastated.
It can come in many ways....the loved one you trusted was not as committed as they vowed to be and left you for another. A strong body is hit with a potentially terminal disease...perhaps a loved one, or perhaps even your own. A friend turns out to be an enemy. Someone you loved so much has passed away. You were promised things that were never delivered. You are sad and heartbroken...life is pain.
I have a dear friend who just lost her daughter in the Bali bombing. I have another who has just learned she has terminal cancer. And just yesterday prayed with a man who has been paralyzed for over ten years. Life truly is painful at times.
So how do we deal with these "tsunamis" that come? One, we must realize that we cannot stop them. They are too powerful and are generated by the unpredictable. How the scientists wish they could stop one! But who can match the power of a wave coming at hundreds of miles an hour, stretching from continent to continent? And who of us can do anything about death and dying outside of the grace of God through our prayers? Sin and death came with Adam...our only victory over it is through the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. That is what gives us hope of an eternity where there is no sickness nor death nor tears.
Second, we must spiritually live on higher ground to keep them from destroying us. There are signs in areas of Seward that warn you to seek higher ground immediately if a tsunami warning is given. But even if that were impossible for you to do in the physical...you can live on a "higher plane that I have found" in the spiritual. There, nothing can touch or harm you. You have established a faith and trust in your Heavenly Father that cannot be shaken or destroyed. Blind faith? No...for true faith sees afar off and knows God has things in control.
And third, we must not be afraid to rebuild again. Every child knows that the sandcastles they build along the shore will disappear when the tide comes in. But that does not stop their building another one the next day. There are still piers standing in the water in Seward that do not hold docks anymore. But the people there moved away the rubble and chose to re-create even better ones. Slowly, the hope for tomorrow overcame the sadness of yesterday. They did not forget, they just took what happened to them as a chance to stand in the face of devastation and show the world how to overcome.
Having lived almost my promised 70 years, I can assure each of you that at one time or another a tsunami will hit your shore and you will experience many of the above. Why do I know that? Because I've been through those tsunamis...not once, but many, many times. And even as I sit here writing this, I know another is on the way...because that is the way life is. I do not live in dread of it, but neither do I live with denial that it will never happen, for I have learned that such things are common to all of us throughout our years. Even the seashore knows this truth. Gentle waves are nice in the soft sands, but eventually greater waves will stir up the sea and pound the rocks higher up again and again.
Jesus did a remarkable thing when he spoke to the angry waves and said, "Peace, be still!" I am not talking of the miracle...that was to be expected when he ordered it to be so. But what I see is that he did not pray to get out of the storm (which is what His disciples were crying to do!) He had already proved he could walk on water...so nothing the seas could produce could take Him under. He had total control over the water and could ride it out...whether stormy or calm.
What is a tsunami? It can be a wall of water, but also it can be an angry wall of pain and trouble rushing to our shoreline. Can I speak to such a wall and tell it to be still? If it is still pounding inside me, that is exactly what I must do. Speak to it. Then every wave that comes decreases in intensity until it finally settles into a sheet of water so beautiful and peaceful that you can see reflections of blue sky and fluffy white clouds in it.
And when you've turned from looking at what the tsunami has done, to looking at those clouds...then knock the sand off your behind, get up and rebuild your sandcastles.
Again, and again, and again.
MARY E. ADAMS
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