Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Reaching for High Ground

One man who took a God Pause, reflecting on the tsunami, was Chester Debnam, a local pastor. He wrote an article, The Recent Earthquake Tragedies, calling for a renewed commitment to evangelism and to remember spiritual food as we rush to meet physical needs. He cited Revelation 6:15-17: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

The December tragedy provided just a glimpse of what the “great day of wrath” could be like. These verses remind me of a friend of my in-laws. He is a former Silicon Valley executive who had made his fortune in America and lived around the world, eventually settling down in Thailand. According to news reports, the 73-year-old man had been chairing a meeting for members of a private club on the coast when the wave hit. He was washed into the ocean and spent several hours at sea, clinging to a tree branch, before a change of currents and his own efforts brought him back ashore.

The resort was wiped out. Even the clothes he wore had been stripped away by the force of the waves. Many of his friends were lost. He found that some resort guests and employees had taken refuge on higher ground and survived. As in the verses above, rich and poor alike had scrambled for the high ground and hoped for mercy.

It didn’t matter whether you were a wealthy vacationer or the resort gardener, the tsunami was a great equalizer. And when the end comes, our own purses and billfolds, cell phones and passports, Nike Air Jordans and Uggs will be stripped away. In material terms, we will all be equal before the Lord. What will we have left to show for our life here on earth? What will remain of your life that is eternal and unshaken?

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” Heb. 12:28-29