It all depends on the foundation it strikes. That’s what will determine our response to the earthquakes of life.
In a large earthquake, some buildings are unfazed and suffer no damage, while others are completely destroyed and left in rubble by the same temblor. The degree of damage and destruction is determined not only by the earthquake’s strength and ferocity, but the depth, strength, quality, and completeness of a building’s foundation.
It is the same with faith. As we go through the trials of life, we face so many different response options. The deciding factor in how we are going to respond ultimately comes down to the intimacy of our relationship with God. When our lens clearly focuses on God’s perspective and learning in the trial, it tamps down our self-centeredness. At that point, we know God is working according to his own divine wisdom and, as always, in our best interest.
What is God’s perspective for us in the earthquakes of life?
God knows our souls inside and out. He has forgiven us of our sins, and before long we will be free of all our afflictions and oppressions. The discipline of affliction is revealed in the book of Job:
“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction.” Job 36:15
Persevering through life’s earthquakes does not make us members of some kind of “joy club” where we never have any problems or burdens. Quite the reverse! These signs of peace and joy show we have experienced and seen God’s victory through the pain. The difference is that we have given our burdens completely to God and continued our journey based on his redemptive and restorative power, not our own.
The apostle Paul suffered terrible emotional and physical dangers, so much so he despaired of life itself. He said he and his colleagues in ministry “had received the sentence of death.” He was describing an absolutely hopeless situation with no apparent way of escape. The experience was clearly a message from God to remind him to never rely on himself.
“Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
Paul counted on God to rescue him from his difficulties and to accomplish his will through him. He knew the end-state promise of victory through Christ.
Are we counting on our living Lord to do the same with us? Or are we taking matters into our own hands by distrusting or discounting his divine timing and not waiting for God to cultivate our Christ-like perspective through the challenges we face?
Of course I am not saying we should be enjoying our times of adversity. We didn’t “sign up” for it.
What I am saying is that we need to deal with adversity the best way we can by committing it early to God, identifying what we can learn, and then praying passionately and expectantly for that victory which can only be found in Christ.