I Feel the Earth Move Under My Feet

5:23 PMHeather

Writer's Note:  This last week of summer has me cramming in as much fun with kids as possible...which means this blog will return to it's regularly scheduled daily programming next week.
  
I had one of those "read it a million times but something new jumped out at me" moments when I was reading a story in my Bible a few weeks ago.  In fact, if my memory serves me right, my bedtime Bible story tape cassette (that would be an old fashioned CD) had the story of Paul and Silas in prison [Acts 16].  Which would mean I heard that story approximately 976 times between the ages of 5 and 7.  Yet, as only God could do, something HUGE hit me right between the eyes that I had never considered. 

Sometimes, life seems to move and shake us like an earthquake.  We feel the earth move under our feet.  Life feels unstable.  We feel shaken and upset and unsettled.  Maybe you even feel as though your life is a natural disaster and the ripple effects go on and on.   Perhaps you see and feel nothing but destruction all around you.  

But, sometimes life requires an earthquake.  It may be that those circumstances that shake you can serve a bigger purpose.  Because maybe, just maybe, the earthquake can break open the cell that imprisons you.  Maybe a stronghold of fear or perfectionism or an addiction has shackled you.  Maybe you are so bound up that you might as well be exactly like Paul and Silas--locked up with no escape.  Maybe the future seems dim and you don't know a way out of the pit you are in.

And then--just then, the next thing comes at you and it feels like an earthquake.  I can nearly picture Paul and Silas groaning and saying, "Ever had one of THOSE days?" when that earthquake hit.  Must have felt like the straw that broke the camel's back.  I mean, they were imprisoned for doing God's work, and they even responded well--singing hymns and praising God.  Then, Acts 16:26 says that a VIOLENT earthquake shook the very foundations of the prison.  I can imagine they were huddled on the floor.  Maybe afraid?  Maybe at a point of surrender and faith?  I wouldn't blame them for however they reacted or responded.  Maybe you are responding to your earthquake--your faith shaken--with fear or frustration, nearly huddled in fetal position in a corner.  Or maybe you are singing hymns and praising God in spite of all that is changing or moving around you.  

Either way...be encouraged by this.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose (Acts 16:26b).  Let me encourage you.  God may just be using that earth moving circumstance to break open your prison doors and loose your chains.  Meditating on this over the last few days, I realized a few things in my own life.  When my dad died and things went south in my life, the earth was shaking.  But you want to know what happened--in hindsight?  I was being freed from some long standing anxiety and other self-made prisons.  Or how about when I miscarried my first pregnancy and was told I'd miscarry again?  I was being freed from the chains of trying to be in control, learning to trust the Lord.  Or most recently--this whole Botox overdose fiasco?  Being released from over activity and over commitment. Not to mention being freed from taking certain things for granted. These are just a few examples.  Truly, I could go on and on with more stories.

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Sometimes, I feel I can hardly see past my circumstances.  You know, that old expression--"Oh, I'm doing pretty good under the circumstances."  As I once heard someone say--what on earth are we doing UNDER the circumstances?  It's like hiding under a desk during an earthquake and never coming out.  How about let's get out from under it and ask God to give us eyes to see how He can work through those earthquakes?  Why don't we plead with Him to give us a vision of the prisons he is seeking to break open for us?  I can choose to either see a bum deal, imprisonment and natural disasters.  Or, I can ask for eyes to see a movement of God.

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