Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
It took several seconds for me to realize what was happening. The noise and movement of what initially could have been a large truck driving by quickly escalated to a steady rumbling accompanied by increasing shaking. Faced with the reality of what was occurring, panic rose from my stomach to my throat as I looked around my classroom at my students. We are having an earthquake.
Although the children did not know or understand exactly what was going on, they looked to me for an explanation of what was undeniably out of the ordinary. I had to stay calm. I knew that whatever reaction I offered them would determine their own reaction to the situation. As they looked at me I could tell that they were trying to gauge my response to determine whether they should be afraid or not.
Seconds later with a smile and a firm tone of voice I directed them to leave what they were doing and line up right away. We followed the other classes down the hallway and out onto the playground. Within seconds the rumbling stopped, the shaking ceased and we all stood still.
The teachers took a moment to together breathe again, staring at one another with wide eyes as we all realized the magnitude of what had just taken place and how differently it all could have turned out. The children, sensing that the emergency was over, chattered among themselves with excitement over what had just happened.
We headed back in and resumed school as usual. As small children do, my class was able to quickly focus on the next task; seeing that no harm had been done they remained unscathed. I on the other hand found myself stuck at the what if’s and what could have beens of what had just occurred. Flashbacks of scenes of the aftermath of earthquakes in other parts of the world filled my mind. The pictures of destruction, devastation and demise of entire communities were fixed on the forefront of my heart. I was thankful for what didn’t happen yet overwhelmed with the thought of what could have happened. In that moment that the earthquake began I recall feeling completely out of control. There was nothing I could do to stop what was happening and in that moment I had no idea how bad it was going to get. I hate feeling out of control.
They say that when you are a teacher you learn from your students as well as teach them. In that moment when my students did not know what was going on they looked to me. It was by my response that they gauged their own. As they were looking to me, I should have been looking to my Lord. Instead I allowed fear and independence to rise up within me and take over as I wrestled with the best plan of action. I had to keep my students safe, they were my responsibility, I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
God never freaks out, He never feels afraid and He never falls from the throne. Regardless of what we face, if we will look to Him and gauge our response by His according to the truth of His Word, we will be able to handle whatever trouble may come with more peace, stability and sense than we are able in our own strength.
Father, when I feel afraid, confused and out of control help me to remember to always look to you to gauge my response.