This past February Barb and I got a chance to go to New Zealand, and I have to say it is just as spectacularly beautiful as we has expected. While there we visited the city of Napier. In 1931 it experienced a catastrophic earthquake. The buildings were leveled, the bluff overlooking the town collapsed, the lagoon was lifted out of the sea and a new set of hills emerged. As you can imagine, life in Napier was totally disrupted. Not only were institutions destroyed, but the landmarks and established lines of communication were lost. People sometimes describe what we have been going through for the last several decades as a cultural earthquake, with good reason. Key aspects of life have been shaken, and many are collapsing or damaged. Institutions people relied on and landmarks they used for guidance such as marriage and family are gone. They now seem dangerous to return to. It is small wonder that we see so much disruption in lives and in society.
As it turned out, there was a navy ship in Napier harbor that day. There was no tsunami, so it rode out the earthquake in relative calm. As the choking dust cloud rose and the fires began to sweep through the town, the crew had a choice. They could remain in safety on their orderly ship, shaking their heads over the tragedy, commenting on the faulty building practices which led to so much destruction, and criticizing the rescue efforts … or they could act. Fortunately for the citizens of Napier they came ashore and joined in the saving many folks from the fires and the rubble. The ship’s radios also provided the vital link to help from outside as the means of communication from Napier had been lost.
As we look at the seismic upheaval all around us from the blessed safety of our life in Christ and His Body, what is our response? Let’s be like those sailors and go ashore to do what we can to recue. And let’s communicate with the One who is able to save, even though those in such trouble do not themselves have the means of such communication.
Our God saves — and He uses us!