"When God spoke from Mt. Sinai His voice shook the earth. but now He makes another promise: 'Once more I will shake not only the earth, but the heavens also.' This means that the things on earth will be shaken so that only eternal things remain." Hebrews 12:26-27..."God is looking for those who will not only worship Him in spirit and truth, but also in crisis." Chris Tiegreen
I've a pastor friend who sees these verses as telling us that not only has the Father shaken the things of this world before, but that He will most certainly do so again. I think we are in the midst of such a shaking right now.
T. Austin-Sparks says of these verses, "God shakes the heavens and the earth to see how much of Christ remains after the shaking." They say the true character of a person comes forth in the midst of crisis. In the spiritual realm, when all that makes up our existence is shaken to it's very foundation, we find out just what our foundation really is. If it is Christ, it will show forth. If not......?
It's much easier to think in these terms when it comes to the church. We like to say that only those things done in Christ will remain. Everything done in our own strength is nothing but "wood and stubble." We can talk about whether the church is built upon the foundation of Christ, but what about our own lives? When our very lives get shaken to their core, just how much of Christ remains? How much of Christ is really there to begin with? At the very core and foundation of our lives, just who and what do we trust in? Who and what are we looking to? When we, like Paul, find ourselves on a "ship" literally being ripped apart on the storm tossed sea of life, does our confidence and trust disintegrate just as our ship does as well? Who and what abides at the very center of our being? Christ.....or something else?
I recently heard Franklin Graham talk of what happened when two of his Samaritan's Purse medical volunteers were struck with the Ebola virus while ministering to those afflicted with the terrible disease in Africa. He related the completely impossible circumstances he encountered in seeking to get one of them, Dr. Ken Brantley, back home to America for treatment. The time element was crucial, and though, with assistance from the U.S. government, they did find a means to get them back, the plane had a mechanical malfunction and had to return to Africa. That night, Dr. Brantley began to die. Through all this, people were praying. Franklin Graham said that as he prayed in his office, he noticed a shadow on his wall. A shadow that lengthened as he watched, until it covered the entire wall. His thought to himself was that "This must be the shadow of death," spoken of in the 23rd Psalm. He and everyone else continued to pray, and during that prayer, a government official came to the medical team working on Dr. Brantley with an experimental drug. It was risky, but they used it. Within an hour, he began to rally, and continued to do so. So much, that a new flight was made, and he was brought home where he made a full recovery. Key in all this was that if the flight had not turned back when it did, he would have died before reaching the states, and would never have had the drug administered to him. Everything in this was shaken.....Christ remained.
One of those involved in all of this said, "In this out of control situation, we trusted and believed that He was still in control." For Dr. Brantley, like Paul on that ship, "All hope of being saved" was gone when that plane turned back. Everything for everyone involved was shaken.....to the core.....yet in it all....Christ remained. The shadow of death could not overcome the presence and reality of Christ. In the out of control situation, Christ had never lost control. He never does. He never will. Only those whose lives are truly centered in Him know that to be so.
As a culture, and as individuals, our own "once more" shaking is upon us. What shall remain at the end of it? Of what are our lives truly composed? If it is anyone or anything but Christ, it will show. If it is Jesus Christ, that will show as well. What will show in you, and in me?