That didn’t take long. Islamists are already crowing that the earthquake was a warning from Allah against the perfidious, materialistic, and thoroughly vapid Great American Satan… or something to that effect.
Thankfully, the most damage “Angry Allah” did was knock off some pictures from the shelves and turn some pictures a bit askew.
Apart from a handful of nighttime aftershocks and perhaps a few terrified little ones taking the opportunity to snuggle in mom and dad’s bed, the vast majority of Allah’s so-called wrath added up to your average Christmas party with the relatives. No deaths, no injuries, and minor damage.
Yet all kidding aside, there was some damage here and there -- most notably to national treasures such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral in Washington.
Obviously, it does no good to say that cracked marble and toppled statues are “warnings” from God. Perhaps they are? Perhaps there’s nothing in the event itself. Given the East Coast rarely has earthquakes and the magnitude of the 5.8 quake, not having a single life lost is reminiscent of Psalm 91:5 -- “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” (KJV)
Rather, God tends to witness much more to how we react in times of crisis, or during the challenges we face from day to day. This is the true test of a Christian faith as it is lived moment by moment, in ways both large and small.
One can’t help but notice the vast amount of attention poured upon the Washington Monument possibly leaning. Our TVC offices in Washington checked -- no Pisa on the Potomac here, though some folks causally remark on how the White House and Congress are still leaning to the left…
Nor can one ignore the damage wrought on the National Cathedral, as well as countless churches along the East Coast.
This leads one to wonder.
While the National Cathedral has been damaged, great attention will be paid to restoring the physical warehouse of the national soul.
Yet in total contrast, what are we doing to repair America’s soul itself? How are we repairing the decades of dependency and debt? What are we doing to create churches worthy to be called members of the Body of Christ? Are we living up to the Great Commission? How, ultimately, are we constantly working to turn our faces back to God, regardless of the events of the outside world?
Natural events such as earthquakes and hurricanes remind humanity of how truly small and insignificant we are, and how the small things we chase -- whether it is gratification, or greed, or lust, or gluttony, or any of these sins against God and one another -- are so vastly insignificant in the end. Reminders that we are truly at the mercy of things greater than ourselves are opportunities for humility and for tremendous grace as well.
As we reflect on the physical repairs America is performing at virtually every level -- whether buildings, or economic, or even spiritually -- let’s take an extra opportunity both now and on through the week to ask one another to turn back to God, to live the Gospel fearlessly, and fulfill the prayers of the apostle Paul to restore all things to Christ (Ephesians 1:10).
After all, what good is it to restore monuments if they are but empty shells?