Unpleasant Reminder of 1994

The earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan (and other places) has served as an unpleasant, but needed reminder…

The earth shook violently as I curled into the fetal position and covered my head with my arms. As I was shaken awake, I looked up and was able to read the illuminated 4:31 on my alarm clock that sat about a foot from my head in my college-dorm room.  The January 17, 6.8 Northridge quake rocked my world. The freshly purchased Snapple bottles rattled. Books and Picture frames were being tossed around the room.  Within minutes the entire student body would be gathered out in grassy areas outside of our dorms we were forced to evacuate. With the power out, reports were only received through a few radio stations broadcasting in the wake of the disaster.

“The 5 and the 14 collapsed” I heard someone talking about the freeways that were only a five minute drive away.

“A cop literally responding to a 911 called drove off the freeway and fell to his death.” A college classmate relayed what he heard.

The next few hours were filled with confusion, disorder and questions.

My small Christian school began to pray.

The next few days were filled with confusion, disorder and questions.

I began to pray.

I was 21 years old, a junior, a leader (RA) on campus and the Youth Pastor at my church. Caught up in who I was in me, rather than who I was for Him.

When it was all said and done communication was restored, roadways rebuilt and life returned to “normal.” I, unfortunately, slowly allowed myself to become calloused. I don’t know even know if calloused is the right word to describe it; maybe intentionally ignorant or self-absorbed?

I’ve had other rude-awakenings; the orphans in India. The sex-trafficking in Costa Rica. Stories from  my own students about drug, alcohol and sexual abuse in their own homes. Perhaps the “feeling” is best described as a wake-up call. These are earthquakes and aftershocks that help me to see the immediacy to wake-up, get-up, gear-up and get-out to proclaim the best news I have to share.

The death toll will rise in Japan. Hundreds, if not thousands, if not tens of thousands will perish.

Death is imminent. Death is immediate. But Death is not permanent.

Created by God to be in relationship with Him. We have eternal souls; life is eternal and in the end we will either spend that eternity with God, glorifying Him or spend eternity (forever) separated from Him. Because of our sin we would-be eternally separated from Him; but the ultimate rescue mission was performed some 2000 years ago. Long before this quake and tsunami, Jesus, took the current of our sin upon his back. He came to restore life eternal with God for those who put their trust in Him. His life, death and resurrection all proving that He is who He said He is. The tsunami of our sin which leads to death is blocked by the blood of Christ.

But not everyone knows this news. I imagine the majority of those who died as a result of this earthquake and tsunami did not. The news is immediate and the messengers (Christians) must wake-up. I must get-up, we must gear-up and the Church must get-out and share the loving story of grace through faith alone!

If you know Christ, share Christ. For His glory and as part of the ultimate rescue mission with Him.

If you don’t know Jesus, understand that we don’t know when the next natural disaster, cancer or car crash will come. Know that eternal peace is possible in Jesus. He has come so that we may have life. Life eternal with Him.

I am praying for those suffering in Japan right now. Loss of life is devastating. Recovery will be hard for those living. As a human I want to help. As a believer I want my help to be both practical (physical and emotional restoration) and eternal (so that they may know Jesus, forever). Likewise, for my neighborhood (because we don’t know when death will appear), I want to help, eternal life is at hand!

Anyone else waking up?




2 thoughts on “Unpleasant Reminder of 1994

    1. It was the 6.8 Northridge quake (no tsunami); and I’m thinking I have at least 10 years on ya Jeff! But thanks for making me feel younger, if even for a brief moment!

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