Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shakin' in Our Boots

Boot scoot boogie has a whole new meaning in the Missouri boot heel lately. The dirt beneath farmers' boots may seem a bit less steady with earthquakes rumbling below the surface. Sikeston, West Plains and Festus were all rocked this past month.

While Missouri trembles, so does another “M” state at the opposite end of the Missouri River where a 4.8 magnitude quake tickled Bozeman this week. Some will claim that an earthquake in Yellowstone National Park could awaken a volcano that could wipe out the planet. And a teeth-rattling tremor in the Midwest could take out bridges from K.C. to D.C.

Should all this news have us shaking in our boots?

Earthquakes are not rare in Missouri. In the past year, the earth moved 118 times in the Show Me State. I remember feeling my first rolling sensation about a year ago. The New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ) is the culprit, but she hasn't really shifted significantly since the winter of 1811-12, when three earthquakes, estimated at magnitude 7.0 or greater occurred. Though the fault line has slumbered for a couple hundred years, there is no reason to think she could not rouse again. In fact, some predictions say it is bound to happen within the next 50 years.

The NMSZ, located in southeastern Missouri, northeastern Arkansas, western Tennessee, western Kentucky and southern Illinois, is the nation's most active seismic zone east of the Rocky Mountains. Over the entire course, nearly 200 earthquakes occur each year. Most go unnoticed, but should a big one rock the boot heel back on her spur, it could be felt half way across the nation. According to Central United States EarthquakeConsortium, “Earthquakes in the central or eastern United States effect much larger areas than earthquakes of similar magnitude in the western United States. For example, the San Francisco, California, earthquake of 1906 (magnitude 7.8) was felt 350 miles away in the middle of Nevada, whereas the New Madrid earthquake of December 1811 rang church bells in Boston, Massachusetts, 1,000 miles away. Differences in geology east and west of the Rocky Mountains cause this strong contrast.”

Just because we haven't felt the earth move under our feet, doesn't mean we won't. Just because the geysers in Wyoming haven't spewed hot lava, doesn't mean they can't. But just because disaster is always a shake away, doesn't mean we have to live in dread or fear.

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will fain from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:25-28)."

The best advice I've ever received came from a very wise woman and seems most applicable here. “Be prepared for the worst, but hope for the best.” Isn't that the Christian's perfect plan? Know where you're going by knowing the Lord. And know that the destiny is perfectly unshakeable.

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved (Romans 8:22-24a)."

Be prepared. Be filled with peace. Be hopeful. "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our god is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:28-29)."

That's all we can really do since we are not the center of the universe.

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