Andrew Schroer writes a faith column for the Victoria Advocate.

It’s official. My family will probably never vacation in California. For years, my wife has been trying to convince me that California could fall into the ocean at any moment.

I am starting to believe her.

Since June 17, more than 1,000 earthquakes have shaken Southern California, including two large quakes measuring 6.4 and 7.1 respectively on the Richter scale. The damage is now estimated to be in the millions. The governor of California is calling this a “wake-up call.” People are wondering if the “big one” is coming.

My wife is convinced it is.

In California, it’s earthquakes. In Texas, it’s hurricanes and tornadoes. Just like in California, we who live in Texas honestly don’t know if or when the “big one” is coming.

So how should we react when the earth shakes and the buildings rattle? First of all, don’t panic. Many people live their lives paralyzed by the fear of “what if?” Yes, the big one could come. If history has taught us anything, it is almost inevitable.

Yet, we don’t need to be afraid even when “the Earth gives way or the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” because “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” Psalm 46:1,2.

We don’t need to lock ourselves in our homes or look over our shoulders every second, fretting about the possible dangers all around. We can be still and know that God is in control. Whatever happens to us is a part of his loving will for our lives – even if it means being caught in the middle of the big one.

You don’t need to be afraid, because you have a home waiting for you in heaven through faith in Jesus. Death cannot even harm you. You are baptized children of God. Your God is bigger than the big one.

We don’t need to be afraid when the earth shakes and the buildings rattle, but we should be ready. When Jesus’ disciples asked him when the end of the world would be, Jesus gave them signs which they should watch out for – signs which would remind them that the end was coming. Among those signs were “famines and earthquakes in various places,” Matthew 24:7.

When the Earth shakes and the buildings rattle, it should remind us that the “big one” is coming. Jesus could come back at any time. This world is waxing old as a garment. It is wearing out. Every earthquake is a reminder to be ready.

And you are ready if you believe in Jesus. When Jesus comes back, he will take all those who believe in him to live with him forever in paradise. But if you aren’t ready – if you don’t believe in Jesus when he comes – the big one will be horrifying. Hell is real. God’s punishment for all the bad things we do is real. Only through faith in Jesus can we stand when the big one comes.

So when you hear about earthquakes, tornados and hurricanes – when the Earth shakes and the buildings rattle – don’t be afraid. Don’t let fear paralyze you. Just be ready.

The big one is coming.

Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for nearly 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria, Texas. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364Days

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