At 4.35am on Saturday morning, our lives changed. For some in Christchurch, the change was minor – inconvenience here and there. For others, the change was more fundamental – the building they work in is gone, the home they live in is uninhabitable, the peace and security of Christchurch gave way to wave after wave of aftershocks.
Earthquakes are a constant threat, but we don’t think about them until one hits. There is always talk of “the big one coming,” but we ignore the idea as the pontificating of academics with nothing better to do. Civil Defence distribute preparedness sheets, but we toss them away and don’t get water stored up, bookshelves screwed to the walls, and so on.
Why is this? And what important things do we learn from the Christchurch earthquake?
First, there is always a need to be prepared for possible disasters. Have some canned food at home – even baked beans is better than nothing! Put some bottled water aside – or freeze some for access if the water supply is threatened. Have a working torch and know where it is! As a home owner, I have been thinking about this.
Second, when the earth shakes, we quickly rush for the important aspects of our lives. Children. Our spouse. Our extended family. If the shaking keeps going on, we quickly realise how unimportant things are in comparison to people (yes, even Lenovo laptops with broken screens!). As a husband and father, I have been thinking about this.
Third, is that just as we don’t know the day or the hour at which an aftershock is going to hit, so we don’t know the day or the hour that Christ will return. But the Bible says he will – and that we should be ready. It also compares his coming back to a “thief in the night” – that is, unexpected. As a Christian, I have been thinking about this.
I’m sure there are other lessons too. These are my top three.