This week shook me. And at the tail end of it here I still find myself a bit jolted, confused and disoriented. I feel shaken. Sometimes I am disarmed by how steady and stable I can feel one moment, only to be knocked off my feet the next.
Years ago, I was in the only earthquake I’ve ever experienced. I was told afterward that it was a small earthquake, but it didn’t feel small to me as it was happening. I was on the second floor of the building I was working in at the time, when slowly at first, but then a bit more violently, things begin to move, shimmy and dance across the room. Desks migrated from one side of the room to the other and books bounced off shelves. The ground moved underneath my feet and the walls around me began to tremble and sway. It was terrifying. My perception was thrown off and I had to fight for the balance that came so easily only moments ago. I grasped for something, anything, that would hold me steady, but nothing around me seemed to do the trick. How on earth was I supposed to steady myself when everything around me was moving?
To this day, that remains one of the most unsettling sensations I have ever experienced. Objects that I assumed were solid, fixed, reliable structures, simply gave way with the strange and sudden movement of the earth, and I lost my balance in the turmoil. For several minutes after the tremors ended I remained unsteady as I struggled to regain my footing on solid ground. I wasn’t even sure what constituted solid ground at that point. Could I trust the next step I took, or might the ground give way underneath my feet? Was my perception still off? Surely I was risking a tumble with my next move.
That’s about how this week felt to me. Rest assured, nothing earth-shattering happened in my life this week – no mountains crumbled, no huge bombs were dropped, nothing occurred over here that would be worthy of the evening news – there were no calamities or fatalities, no grand scale disasters. And although there was nothing earth-shattering in my life this week, there was definitely some perception-shifting that took place. And while the earth-shattering shakes tend to get our most immediate attention, it is the perception-shifting shakes that eventually wear us thin and rattle us right down to bone. Ladies, you and me, we’re constantly being shaken. Sifted.
So all the ground-shifting that has taken place in my little world lately has got me thinking about just what exactly leaves me shaken. These little tremors have forced the question of just how easily I’m thrown off-kilter. How do I hold up under the inevitable pressures of life? Can a small misunderstanding jolt me to the core? How quickly do I lose my footing? Do I waver too much according to people’s opinions of me? Honestly, yes. Much of the time I do. I am a woman riddled with doubts, fears and insecurities. If you know me, you know that. The tremors of my life often cause me to stumble and fall.
So what’s a girl who’s prone to get off-balance to do in such an unsteady world?
She’s to find steady ground. In this constantly shifting world there is solid ground for us. There is a cornerstone, a rock upon which we can rest. In this entire world, there stands only one thing that cannot be shaken. Hebrews chapter 12 tells us that one day everything that can be shaken will be removed so that we can finally clearly perceive the one thing that cannot be shaken. In realization of this, you and I should be grateful because no matter how woozy we may feel, we have been given the one immovable, unchangeable, unshakable thing.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29
God has given us possession of the one unshakeable thing! This means that we don’t have to be tossed and turned and thrown off balance with every little shake and shiver of the circumstances around us. We’re told elsewhere in scripture that He has set our feet upon a rock, making our steps secure (Psalm 40) and that our feet stand on level ground (Psalm 26). In this constantly shifting and changing world, Christ is our solid ground. He is our only hope of keeping balance, of remaining steady and feeling secure. The New Testament epistles are full of exhortations to the people of God to “stand firm” on the solid foundation we’ve been given.
The realization of the great gift of that one shakeable thing leads us to worship God in this way – by sacrificing to him the things that shake us. Did you get that? God wants us to hand over the shakable things in our lives – our insecurities, our doubts, our fears and yes, sometimes even our hopes and our dreams – so that we can more clearly perceive the only thing that can’t be shaken. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to remain unsteady. I don’t want to flounder and falter simply because I forget to remember that I don’t have to any more. I’m ready to start sacrificing the things that shake me. How about you?