Facing Life’s Disasters


On the morning of April 18, 1906, a massive earthquake shook the city of San Francisco.

The quake lasted less than a minute, but its swift and powerful impact was disastrous. Buildings collapsed. People were trapped, injured and killed. Fires ignited around the city and burned for days, destroying nearly 500 city blocks.

First responders jumped into action, but their task was daunting. The city was in chaos—and its people were in shock. They shuddered again when authorities reported that the quake and fires killed an estimated 3,000 people and left half of the city’s 400,000 residents homeless.

Aid poured into San Francisco from around the country and the world, but the grieving survivors ached inside and faced weeks of hardship. They slept inside tents in city parks and the Presidio, stood in long food lines and cooked in the streets to lessen the threat of more fires.

Without doubt, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Thousands died. Families grieved. Suffering was everywhere, just like the rubble.

When’s the last time you were surprised and slammed by the stuff of life?

Perhaps you’re struggling today because something awful has rocked your world. Maybe you’re grieving after burying a child or spouse. Aching inside after receiving divorce papers. Trying to survive after losing your job. Waiting for a prodigal son or daughter to come home.

When we hear the roar, feel the rumble and see the rubble of life’s disasters—we often feel anything but confident, hopeful and strong. It’s as if we can’t see, hear or feel God—and we doubt if he’s there and wonder if he cares.

Maybe things look bleak and you feel weak today. Perhaps you’re discouraged. You can’t make sense of anything—and feel abandoned and confused. You’re on the verge of giving up and losing hope. You’re broken, alone and exhausted—and going down for the count.

If that’s a snapshot of your shattered world, take a moment to reflect on this Biblical principle:  there’s no problem too big that God can’t solve it.

David believed and understood this amazing principle. But sometimes, especially when life was coming apart at the seams, he ignored it—and tried to handle things on his own.

In those misguided moments, David trusted his abilities and focused on his circumstances. Wrestled with his emotions and stiff-armed God’s provision of strength, perspective and hope. Questioned God’s timing and doubted his goodness and grace.

Eventually, David would look up from his pit of despair, cry to God for help and then sing:

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise …” (Psalm 40:1-3).

If you’re trapped in a pit of discouragement today—now is the time to cry to God for help, wait for him to lift you and trust him to turn your feeling of hopelessness into a testimony of praise!


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