God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. (Psalm 46:1-3 )
The recent earthquake in California’s Napa Valley was felt by my son and his family 20 miles away. Happily there was no damage to their possessions, and we are grateful that there was no loss of life (although I recall that there were a few serious injuries).
Although it is not mentioned explicitly, it appears that the Psalmist recognized the common phenomena of a resulting tsunami when he spoke of “the mountains [slipping] into the heart of the sea. Though its waters roar and foam…”
Fear is a common emotion in the midst of an earthquake. We often use the Latin phrase, “terra firma” so we can emphasize the “firm” in “firma.” An earthquake is anything but that. Somehow the fact that scientists can explain the shifting of the plates beneath the surface of the earth doesn’t alleviate our fears because even though they can explain them, they can’t predict them accurately or intervene to prevent them.
According to the political correctness that dictates speech today, we are forbidden in our day to attribute earthquakes to God. Random naturalism created everything according to their view, so earthquakes are also random events. “God” is just the metaphysical coping mechanism that helps us deal with this or any other fearful event. Although they deny the Scriptures, modern proponents of political correctness would point out that even in this verse God is not seen as the source of the natural phenomena.
This is, however, a ridiculous argument. The God of the Judeo-Christian Scriptures is revealed as the Sovereign God who created and maintains the laws that keep the universe operational. He is revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ and is called “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light…to Him be honor and eternal dominion” (I Timothy 6:15-16, emphasis added). In another place Jesus is described as the One who “holds all things together by the Word of His power” (Colossians 1:17). This is the same Jesus that predicted an increase in earthquakes leading up to His return (Matthew 24:7).
So, if we believe the Scriptures, it makes sense that we would turn to Him during the fearful time of an earthquake. He created the earth; He is Sovereign over its operations; and He holds it all together. Ultimately the earthquake is a harbinger of that day when we will meet Him, when He will judge our works. And, given that we will have one chance to stand before Him (Hebrews 9:27), we should get to know what He requires. Happily that is written for us, if we will just choose to read it.