When Life Shakes You…Are You Ready?

I was attending college at UCLA when the Northridge earthquake hit in California in 1994. I lived close to the college campus and approximately 20 minutes from the earthquake’s epicenter in Northridge, a Los Angeles suburb.

I still vividly remember being awoken at 4:30am with a strong shaking. The apartment complex I lived in shook so hard I thought it was about to crumble! My TV and bookcase crashed to the floor and I took cover under the bed and prayed…“Lord Jesus please help me and keep me safe! Please do not let this building come crashing down!”

If you have ever experienced an earthquake, the shaking can seem like it lasts forever! Although this shaking only lasted approximately 20 seconds… the ground acceleration/ motion was one of the highest ever recorded in an urban area in North America causing an estimated $20 billion in damage…making it one of the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history! The death toll came to a total of 57 people, and there were over 8,700 injured!

Once the phones were finally working again…FYI there were no cell phones back then …I remember getting a hold of my parents who lived not far from the earthquake’s epicenter. They lived on a mountain top that was actually built of rock. My mother said the house shook and shook but no damage was done.

I was so thankful for the safety of my family and friends and to have lived through this strong tremor that claimed the lives of and injured so many…and literally destroyed and leveled parking structures, apartment complexes, houses and businesses.

Do you ever feel that your life is shaking beneath you? What do you do when your life is being shaken?

As Christians, we know that we do not get a hall pass from our lives being shaken…from facing trials…from even facing tragedy.

We can be shaken by tragic events…like losing a spouse, child or loved one suddenly… We can be shaken by an unexpected job loss…We can be shaken by a sudden end in a relationship…like our marriage…We can be shaken by a sudden and unexpected health diagnosis…

In the bible, James doesn’t say if you face trials…but whenever you face trials! In this life, the trials will come…the challenges will come…there will be some shaking…there may be a lot of shaking…So my question to you today is…Are you ready?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIV

So how can we be ready when our lives are being shaken? How can we be ready when the trials come unexpectedly like an earthquake in our lives? Is it even possible to be ready and prepared?

Just like the earthquake shook and shook my parents house but didn’t destroy it, we too may face difficult circumstances in life that shake us…shake the very core of our being!

Will you crumble…will you be destroyed…will you lose hope…will you give up?

Why didn’t my parent’s house crumble during the earthquake when many other structures were destroyed? …The answer? …Because it’s foundation was built on rock.

As Christians, we too can face life’s tragedies and earthquakes without crumbling when our spiritual foundation is built on rock…the solid rock of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Do you have a strong biblical foundation?

Jesus teaches us about building a strong solid foundation in Matthew 7:24-27.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matt 7:24-27 NIV

A foundation is defined as…

1. the basis or groundwork of anything

2. the natural or prepared ground or base on which some structure rests

3. the lowest division of a building, wall, or the like, usually of masonry and partly or wholly below the surface of the ground

Being shaken by tragedy or difficult trials is by no means easy….even God never said it will be easy… but hopefully we won’t crumble, lose hope, lose faith, or give up. Why? Because we have prepared and built a strong biblical foundation upon the rock of Jesus Christ.

So what does it mean to build a strong biblical foundation?

I would like to share from my own experiences what I feel is important in building a strong biblical foundation.

1)      Find a church. Find a church family so that you can not only grow in your relationship with Jesus but also help others grow too by building friendships and relationships. Find a church family where you can serve others and help the church body by volunteering in a department that interests you. God doesn’t want us to be a “Lone Ranger” Christian. He wants us to be part of a family to be encouraged so we can encourage and serve others. (Acts 2:41, 42, 46) Jesus is our model and He came to serve…not to be served!(Mark 10:45)

2)      Accountability. Develop relationships with other women that you can trust. Develop friendships with other women who can pray for you, support you, and that you can be transparent and honest with. Accountability requires you to be able to open your life up…the good, the bad, and the ugly…so you can be taught, corrected, trained…sometimes rebuked through the word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16, Titus 2:3) You can only be held accountable to what you share with those you trust!

3)      Daily time with God…in prayer and reading/meditating on God’s word. This is the best way to get to know Jesus intimately. He desires to spend time with you and you should desire the same. Just as with any friendship, the more time you spend with one another the more you will grow in intimacy and trust. Do not ignore spending this daily time to know your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! (James 4:8)

4)      Understanding Foundational Christian Principles. Building a strong biblical foundation requires an understanding of such principles that may include but are not limited to sin, salvation, lordship, obedience, repentance, baptism, faith and the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 6:1)

This concept of understanding foundational Christian principles truly changed my life. Years ago, I went through a discipleship book one on one with another woman called “The Purple Book” by Rice Broocks and Steve Murrell. It changed my life! Not only did my understanding of these principles develop but I also developed that accountability relationship in the process. My relationship with Christ went to whole other level and consequently it allowed me to go through this book with many other women as well…helping them build strong biblical foundations as well!

If you attend my church, I have “The Purple Book” available in my office. You can also purchase them online through Amazon, Christianbook.com, and Walmart.

Building a strong biblical foundation provides stability, faith, hope, encouragement and accountability in our lives. When the trials come, when the storms come, when your life is shaken…Can you still stand? …Can you still trust God? …Or will you fall…away from God? …Will you crumble? …Will you be destroyed?

I am sure that many of the building structures that were destroyed in the Northridge earthquake appeared to have strong foundations…until they were shook.

The emphasis isn’t on what is shaking us…but how will we respond to the shaking. The emphasis isn’t on what is rocking us…but the rock we are standing on!

Why wait until you are shaken to see if you will stand? Begin building a strong foundation today.

Build your foundation on the solid rock of Jesus Christ! You can’t get any stronger or any more solid than that!

Building a strong biblical foundation changed my life…and I know it will change yours too!

Reflection Points:

1)      Do you ever feel that your life is shaking beneath you? What do you do when your life is being shaken?

2)      So how can we be ready when our lives are being shaken? How can we be ready when the trials come unexpectedly like an earthquake in our lives?

3)      Do you have a strong biblical foundation?

 Action Points:

See the steps outlined above in building a strong biblical foundation in your life.

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