The Forces of Nature

By: Caitlin Bootsma, Office of Communications

I’ll admit it, when the ninth floor of the Chancery started to feel like an inflatable bounce house when ten kids are jumping on it, my eyes started to widen. I am not from California and, like many of you, this was the largest earthquake I had ever experienced.

Was it a problem with the building? Was this the beginning of a terrorist attack? For an instant, the certainty of an ordinary Tuesday fell away and we began to try to call our families and to question our safety.

Yes, it was a small incident compared to so many natural disasters around the world. But, as I returned home to a kitchen full of broken glass and a large crack in my dining room wall, the Psalms hit a little closer to home:  

The voice of the LORD rocks the desert; the LORD rocks the desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare” (Psalm 29:8-9).

With Hurricane Irene threatening the East Coast, the power of God’s creation seems more imminent.

When Japan suffered such a tremendous natural disaster this year, someone remarked that it was particularly hard to process because Japan was such an advanced country, one of the most technologically savvy places in the world. Yet, in an instant, their land was devastated.

For me, these forces of nature are a reminder that regardless of our material wealth, our status in society or our occupation, we are not always in control. In fact, it helps me to understand that while those things might be positive achievements, they are not the highest goods for which I should be trying to strive.

Knowing that houses, roads and yes, even human lives, could end in an instant, made me step back for a moment and look at my life. It is not just a popular phrase that “we know neither the day nor the hour;” it’s a passage from Scripture and one that I need to remember more often.

Am I living my life in a way which recognizes that material things pass away, but my relationship with the Lord will last forever? What questions do you ask yourself when natural disasters strike?

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