One of the first things I thought about early yesterday morning as I sat down at my desk with a steaming cup of Starbucks® Caffe Verona Dark blend in hand was that we talk about the things that consume us – about the things that we have allowed to capture and hold our attention. Then I paused for a moment, analyzed the idea and continued on saying aloud: that our words tell us… and others… where we are at and on what object we have really fixed our faith on!
Then I brought it home and considered the subjects I tend to dwell on throughout the day and the specific words I say in relation to those subjects. What I realized was that I still spend a fair amount of time and effort considering many of the negative words and actions that have been taken against my wife and I personally and with the direction we have taken on our stand of faith for her healing. But I also understood that much of that consideration was coming from the counsel that the Lord has been giving to me from His Word about that particular subject on an almost daily basis.
I can see that He has been bringing me through a very calculated, step by step process of healing, understanding, personal intervention into the past ways I have responded to others in similar situations and in forgiveness. At the conclusion of my study time yesterday, I suddenly thought about the similarities between earthquakes and these incidents in my life. In my mind’s eye I realized that my life had been shaken to the core just like how a city… say San Francisco on April 18, 1906 was literally shook right down to its foundations.
I’ve actually read quite a few books on the history of that quake and learned many particulars about it including the popular conclusion that what was estimated to be anywhere from a 7.7 to 8.3 level quake on the modern Richter Magnitude Scale, which lasted about 43 seconds and the devastating fire that followed, was the best thing that ever happened to that city!
Because of its location and natural harbor, the city quickly grew into a major hub of commerce and finance on the West Coast of the United States in response to the discovery of gold on January 24, 1848 by James W. Marshall in the mountains of California at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma. My understanding though, was that except for some of the downtown area, much of the city was a totally unplanned menagerie of ramshackle buildings haphazardly constructed along muddy streets and sooty air. Even the beautiful bay was cluttered with abandoned ships left behind by crews that had deserted for the gold fields.
The earthquake and ensuing fire took the lives of over 3000 people and destroyed over 80% of the city. Today it is remembered as one of the worst and deadliest natural disasters in the history of the United States.
(See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake for more details)
But all the death and destruction did not go unheeded and served as an opportunity for the orderly rebuilding of the city with plan, purpose and safety measures from all the lessons learned. Today it ranks as one of the most beautiful cities in the world… and having been there on countless occasions, I would have to whole heartedly agree!
My life over the last six or seven years holds many comparisons to the events in 1906 San Francisco. There have been many areas in my life over this time that have been literally shaken to the very core, but after those devastating personal quakes, the Lord has taken me by the hand and instructed me and helped me to rebuild those damaged parts into stronger, more sensitive and effective and more useful to the kingdom of God characteristics of who I am.
I can honestly say that I believe that I am a better, stronger individual and Christian now than I ever was before, in fact the Word says that I am complete in Him! (Colossians 2:10) So I guess that in some respects, I am a bit thankful for the rough roads that Piper and I have had to endure… as we have learned many lessons that continue to prepare us for the future assignments that Papa God has set before us to complete on this earth and in our next assignments in eternity!
It is a little funny in that Piper and I watched the movie San Andreas last evening in which the story line centers around a huge shifting of the plates along the San Andreas fault line in California. It's particular focus is around the damage incurred by a 9.6 earthquake in San Francisco. At the very end of the movie the family which is followed throughout the flick is standing arm in arm on the Marin headlands across from the city and are staring at the devastated city and Golden Gate Bridge that had been ripped in half, when the wife asks the husband: “What now?” And after a long emotional pause and lots of dramatic music, he looks deep into her eyes and says” “Now, we rebuild!” Then they turn and walk off into their new future.
Have a great week and as you do, keep asking yourself… “What new future am I expecting to walk into after I’ve learned my lessons from the hard times in life?