Earthquakes in Divers Places
How sober the satellited video clips emanating from the like-nuclear-bomb flattened landscapes of Turkey and Syria—the concrete ruble aftermath of last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, with its 7.5 magnitude aftershock. Drone footage reveals nothing but “pancaked” apartments, homes, neighborhoods, stretching as far as the eye can see, the only “structure” left standing, the purpled mountain range in the distance. Authorities now report the number of deaths—of men, women and children—to be climbing well beyond 40,000. The magnitude of both devastation and suffering is simply beyond our comprehension.
While we may feel safer on this side of the world, along comes a new headline to give us pause: “Turkey earthquake a ‘poster child’ for what could happen in Southern California.” The “CU Boulder Today” newspaper for the University of Colorado, reported on Wednesday: “For many Americans, the devastation might seem far away. Experts, however, say the geology underlying Turkey and Syria shares a lot in common with the West Coast of the United States—especially California where the San Andreas Fault stretches almost 750 miles from the northern to southern part of the state” (www.colorado.edu/today/2023/02/14/turkey-earthquake-poster-child-what-could-happen-southern-california). Quoting Karl Mueller, a CU professor of geological sciences: “‘The thing that struck me about the earthquake in Turkey is that . . . [it is] the same type of fault. It's the same magnitude of earthquake that is likely to occur. When you look at the scenes from this earthquake, you might think, “Wow, that could be L.A.”’” (ibid).
That was Jesus’ point in warning His followers, was it not? “‘And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers [various] places,’” is how the old King James Bible reported His warning (Matthew 24:7). It wasn’t Jesus’ intent to to instill fear, but His warning remains a divine alert to flag the one remaining sign of His return: “‘And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’” (Matthew 24:14 NIV). I.e., since Calvary Heaven has launched a massive global rescue effort to find and resuscitate human beings, buried under the rubble of sin, fear, guilt, anxiety and the plethora of Satan’s other assaults against humanity, natural or unnatural.
It’s a call to action, but what kind of action? Consider what happened to Marut Babaoglu, 26 years old: “I was awake when the earthquake happened, I ran down the stairs of the building—I was on the fifth floor, there are eight floors in total. I reached between the second and third floors, then the building collapsed and I was stuck under rubble in the stairwell. I was in a space big enough so that I could turn and move a little, but my hand was stuck. It was pitch dark” (www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/15/i-thought-i-was-going-to-die-turks-share-their-survival-story). Still pinned after three days and nights, and still “unfound,” Marut reported drinking his own urine until eventually vomiting halted the idea. Eventually he was located in the collapse, but firefighters clawed and dug for nine more hours to rescue him. “I was in intensive care when I opened my eyes. Everyone working there got very excited . . . I was in shock, but people were cheering” (ibid).
Why were they cheering? One more lost soul saved, that’s why. And that is the motivation that compels the followers of Jesus to refuse to stop digging, to stop seeking, to stop rescue efforts. Victims are pinned all around us—and have no idea they are trapped (or maybe they do). If they knew we knew what we know, how would they react were we to walk past them without lifting a finger to dig for their rescue?
“Are you using all your powers in an effort to [dig the lost out of the rubble]? There are thousands upon thousands in ignorance who might be warned. Pray as you have never prayed before for the power of Christ. Pray for the inspiration of His Spirit, that you may be filled with a desire to save those who are perishing” (In Heavenly Places 338).
Simply ask Him for the desire to rescue one more lost soul—and keep asking until the desire is yours, too.