A massive and sudden earthquake rocked the nations of Turkey and Syria early in the morning on February 8, 2023. The 7.8 magnitude quake took residents completely by surprise and thousands of people were instantly killed as their houses collapsed on them while they slept. Rescue efforts immediately began in a race against time to try and dig people who were still alive out of the rubble. The tens of thousands of continuing aftershocks made these rescue efforts all the more challenging. In total, nearly 60,000 people lost their lives, making this one of the most tragic natural disasters in modern times.
For those that survived, the damage was catastrophic as they had to rebuild their lives from the rubble. The impact area was extensive as hundreds of thousands of square miles were affected. According to UN estimates, 1.5 million people lost their homes in the quake. There was hundreds of billions of dollars in damage as homes, businesses, schools, shops, hospitals, that once stood secure had been reduced to piles of debris and rocks.
Thankfully, most of us here in America are blissfully unaware of the damage an earthquake can cause. We looked at the news reports, prayed, perhaps sent some support, and then moved on with our lives. But what if we were directly impacted? Not only would we face a seemingly impossible road back to normality, but would be forever scarred by the terror of so much destruction and loss of life. I can’t imagine the fear of experiencing another quake that could strike at any moment. I’m sure that going through such a trial gives priceless perspective on what truly matters in life.
While we may not have experienced a devastating earthquake before, we do go through other trials that threaten to shake the foundation of our lives. Health diagnoses that threaten our lives or the lives of our loved ones. Financial instability and uncertainty that makes us wonder where the next paycheck may come from. Relational turmoil that leaves us feeling alone and hurt. In these moments, we need to know where to turn for sanity, truth, encouragement, and comfort. We may feel like God has abandoned us, but there is truth we can hold onto in these times.
This weekend we will gain insight from a group of brothers and sisters who were still recovering from an earthquake not too far away from the one just mentioned. Christ had a word for these communities, especially a small church in a small city named Philadelphia. His words bring comfort and encouragement today as we are reminded of what matters most in life.
I invite you to join with us this weekend as we gain heavenly perspective from Revelation 3:7-13 together. Our socially distanced service is Saturday afternoon at 3:30, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15, where you can join us online if you can’t make it in person. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice