God sometimes whispers. At other times, He shouts.
Just before four in the afternoon on Palm Sunday, a tremor of 4.3 magnitude rippled through Caracas. On the thirteenth floor where I live, the movement was quite impressive. About four hours later, a shock of 4.0 shook several other states within the country. There was no damage, but there were people who fled to the streets “just in case.” Smaller aftershocks numbered into the dozens. Of course, nothing we felt here compared to what happened just a few hours later as an earthquake of over 6 on the scale ripped through central Italy. Buildings fell. Over 200 people died and thousands have been left homeless.
The “shaking” of the earth on Sunday reminded me of the role earthquakes played in the first Easter. Matthew 24:45-54 describes what happened when Christ died. The sun hide its face, the earth shook, the graves were opened, and the holy dead came back to testify. Every time I read these verses I am reminded of a devastating quake that struck the city of Popayán, Colombia while I was living there a number of years ago. The city was destroyed and the movement of the earth was such that the dead in the cemeteries were tossed back to the surface. Unfortunately, they stayed dead and could give no testimony to the need to flee hell, or to embrace heaven. On the morning of Christ’s resurrection, the earth shook again as the angel descended to move the gravestone from the entrance to His tomb—another powerful testimony.
There are no coincidences, not even in the natural realm. God continues to speak through His creation. In the case of a depressed prophet, His voice was not heard in the earthquake, but in a quiet whisper (1 Kings 19:11-14). God knows when we need a whisper and when we need something stronger.
Paul tells us in Romans: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth" (8:22) as he describes the earth's eager anticipation for liberation from the effects of sin, and its ultimate restoration to what God has always intended it to be.
The shaking of the earth during this particular week of the year has served to remind me why Christ took upon Himself my sin, and those of the whole world, on that terrible, wonderful, day so long ago. The earth shook then, in response to the consequences of sin and as testimony to the truth that sin has a remedy, and his name is Jesus.
May God give us this Easter, the once dead in sin who are now alive in Christ, the opportunity to testify for our Liberator.