Last Friday was interesting. For a solid 45 seconds I thought a plane was moments away from crash landing into my house. I was searching for the remote so that I could put a movie on for my kids, my daughter was in the bathroom washing her hands, and my son was telling me repeatedly what he wanted to watch. So normal. So common. Happens every day.
What doesn’t happen every day is the deafening noise that interrupted that mundane scene. It was by far the loudest noise I have ever heard. The house was quite literally shaking, my daughter started crying, I (for some unknown reason) ran from the back of the house to the front while screaming, “come here!”. At this point I was pretty sure that a plane was going to crash into the back of our house so clearly the front of it must be safe. You know, because we live in a mansion. What was I thinking?!?! My son was the only one of us who was even remotely logical. He just started screaming “TORNADO TORNADO TORNADO”, flung open the basement door and bolted down the stairs.
Quickly, the volume of whatever it was lowered and I happened to glance outside and see my neighbors on their deck. I walked out back just in time to see a military jet fly out of view. I would later learn that two jets were performing military exercises (WHERE WAS THE ADVANCE WARNING PEOPLE?!) and were approximately 500-700 feet above the houses in our neighborhood, if our Facebook group is to be believed. As they flew over us, they switched on their boosters, quickly accelerated and gained altitude, hence the noise and ensuing panic all around.
The lesson from this is that, should you find yourself in some sort of an emergency, I am probably not the person you want around. My six year old would be a much better option. At least he would get you to a safe shelter.
In all seriousness though, a much more important reminder came to mind the next day when I was reading this verse from Isaiah:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10 NIV)
Well, there are no mountains near me but my house was certainly shaken that day! Thankfully, it did not fall, but other things have this year.
Mountains…hills….symbols of strength, grandeur, power, stability. Haven’t we all seen our own versions of mountains crumble this year in one way or another? Some of us have lost jobs, family members, homes, and cars. Some of us have experienced brokenness like never before in relationships, have become isolated, or have lost our sense of purpose.
All of us were simply living our normal, mundane, everyday lives in March of this year when it was suddenly and nearly completely shut down. The mountain of normalcy, the hill of routine….shattered.
No one has escaped this reality in 2020. We have been jolted awake to the truth that all things are temporary and anything can be shaken, shattered, and removed without notice.
Well, almost anything. For we who are in Christ, this verse is a reminder of what can never be changed or taken from us:
God’s unfailing love
God’s covenant of peace
God’s compassion on us
Love, peace, compassion. Aren’t these what we long for at our deepest level, even when we aren’t besieged by a pandemic? The deep, inner feeling that we are known, loved, and secure? The good news is that, in Christ, this is our reality, even when the world seems to be burning down all around us. We can have the assurance of a love that never ends and is not conditional and access to a supernatural peace, both of which come straight from God (the KING of the universe) who has deep compassion for us, his children.
This is backed up elsewhere in scripture. Take Romans 8 for example:
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-38 NLT)
Nothing can separate us from God’s love. It DOES.NOT.FAIL.US.
We are again promised peace from God in Philipians:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NLT)
A peace, in fact, that goes beyond the limits of our understanding and even goes so far as to set up guard over our heart and mind.
And finally, we are reminded in Hebrews of the compassion of God:
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NLT)
Jesus came to earth, was 100% God and 100% man, and has compassion for us in our weaknesses.
Friends, when the proverbial plane hits our house and our life seemingly goes up in flames, we can stand and say with confidence, “Though the _____________________ be shaken and my ____________________ be removed, God’s unfailing love, peace, and compassion toward me will not change.” And then we can face today, tomorrow, and whatever may come with a holy confidence knowing that God is with us.
May you have peace today as you rest in the truths of His Word.
(For further worship with these verses, check out Tasha Layton’s song Into the Sea (It’s Gonna Be Okay)