10 He replied, "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too." 11 The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
Yesterday I was eating wonderful red seedless grapes. I looked at the package and they were from Chile. I wonder how those vinedressers are doing today. Why should we care about a Chilean earthquake thousands of miles away? It is the ripple effect- like a very small tsunami that rolls around the world, it eventually effects us.
But that is not the main reason we should care. We should care because we have the ability to care. When the last terrible earthquake his Chile in 1960 it generated a tsunami that killed 61 in Hawaii. Most Americans did not see footage or pictures of that quake. We knew the Chilean earthquake caused the tsunami (whereas in the past we were blind to that), but we weren't able to have any kind of prediction or safety warnings or ways to see it from a thousand video cameras focused on the ocean. We are able to know more. We have a global economy and are able to see, relate, communicate (President Obama called President Bachelet), tons of inofrmation on the internet.
God also cares for the people of Chile. He cares that they know Him, and can experience His strength, grace, and love at such a time as this (Mt. 28:20; Ps. 46:1,2). If God cares, and we are His people, we should show concern too.
But there is one more reason- illustrated in this passage. God speaks through events. The old theologians called it "providence." There's a great old hymn ("I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say")- that says, "Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire oh still small voice of God." God speaks through the catastrophes of life to us- the storms, the bad news about our health, the death of a lvoed one. In such times we thank God, curse God (we shouldn't do that), pray earnestly to God. Frontier Missions says that 40% of the break throughs with new church plants in Muslim, Chinese, or Hindu countries occur in response to a disaster. When everything else is stripped away, we can hear God's still small voice speaking to us (as to Elijah above).
Prayer: Lord, on this Sabbath Day- your day, speak to my heart. Help me to care for others as you do. Give me a heart of compassion, and a listening heart this day. Be with the people of Chile as they go to worship today, and as they rebuild. Move in their midst and also in mine.
85% of Chile professes Christianity. The Presbyterian Church has been there since 1845- the Iglesia Presbiteriana de Chile is our partner church and is the third largest Christian denomination there.