Jim Warren, like thousands of other people, believed in God. In fact, he went to church—not every Sunday, but most Sundays. He was a good man. He worked hard to support his family. He was faithful to his wife, Ruth, and occasionally took his boys fishing. Jim really didn’t need God. He had too many other good things going for him.
Then came the earthquake which shook Southern California. The next Sunday Jim Warren was back in church, but this time it was different. I was pastoring the church which the Warrens attended, and on that morning, I spoke on the subject, “Listen to the earthquake!”
“You tried to scare people,” you might charge. Not really—the earthquake did that. I talked about what I still believe, that in every natural disaster, you can hear the voice of God saying, “Life is not forever. There is an end to life on earth, whether a person dies in bed at age 85, having lived a long and purposeful life, or whether he or she becomes a victim of an earthquake that suddenly and without warning brings down the curtain on life as we know it.”
That Sunday Jim, along with four other men, decided he wanted to know God personally, and placed his faith in Jesus Christ. His life was forever changed.
C. S. Lewis said that pain is God’s megaphone that gets our attention; but for you who live through the turbulence of seeing buildings come crashing down or face the terror of having the lights go out as the floor under you sways and the walls crack and the ceiling comes down, you know God doesn’t need a megaphone. He’s got your attention.
No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36
Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus took the disciples and went to the Mount of Olives, and there He prayed. As they sat on the slopes of the garden looking back towards the temple on Mt. Zion, the disciples began to ply Jesus with questions. They wanted to know when He was going to return, and what would be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. Actually, there were but two issues: When it would be, and how they would recognize the time of His coming.
In answering those questions Jesus described His return, and one issue which clearly is identified with the return of Jesus Christ is—are you ready for this?—earthquakes! No matter how they may disagree on other issues, Bible scholars the world over are in general agreement that the increase of earthquakes in our world is one of the certain signs pointing to His return.
A closing thought: It wasn’t the earthquake that changed Jim Warren’s life; it was His faith in God. But for Jim Warren, the earthquake was a turning point that helped him see things from a different perspective, and until he died of cancer years later, he never regretted listening to the message of the earthquake.
The prophet Joel wrote, recording the message of God, “I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Joel 2:30-31).
Listen to God’s voice—whether it is in earthquakes, in sickness, in the beauty of a sunrise, in the death of a friend, or in the miracle of a baby’s birth. Sometimes His voice is quiet like a whisper, and, on occasion, He raises the volume to get your attention. God speaks clearly through His Word, but He gets our attention through life’s events. Yes, listen to His voice. And you will hear Him say, “I love you. Trust me!”
Resource reading: Matthew 24:36-51
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