The Big One
Author: Columba Lisa Smith (California, US)
The powerful 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake sent buildings-and the upper level of the Nimitz motorway-crashing down. Sixty-three people died, and life around the San Francisco Bay area instantly slowed to a stunned, painful crawl as survivors rebuilt their lives. My colleagues and I remained on edge for months. Every aftershock set our hearts racing and our anxious minds anticipating the dreaded ‘Big One’ that scientists often warn us about. A friend described her reaction when the quake came: ‘I prayed, “I’m sorry, God!”’ In mortal danger-and not knowing God’s grace-she immediately feared judgement.
God’s judgement for our sins can be more frightening than any earthquake. Yet he does not want to punish us. His Son, Jesus Christ, stopped the crushing blow of judgement by dying on a Roman cross centuries ago; and God raised him from death. Like a strong building that stands firm through an earthquake, Christ’s sacrifice protects us from the eternal consequences of sin. No matter what crisis or tragedy we may face, we know that the most important Big One has been neutralised. Rather than condemnation, through Christ we can feel peace and joy-in this life and in the life to come.
Prayer: Steadfast God, when life’s events frighten us, remind us that we can rest safe in your grace. Amen