When foundations are shaken

Earthquake in Albania, November 26th 2019

Last year at this time, Tirana, my home city was shaken by an earthquake 5.8 Rihter, intensity 7.8. That did not result in casualties. In November though we woke up by an unusual noise and shaking, the worst earthquake we had ever experienced in our lives. At least 50 people lost their lives and hundreds lost their homes. For days we would watch scenes of people under ruins, that we had only seen on news happening in other countries. But now that was in our own country. Our own home was affected as well, but we were spared by serious damages.

Cracked walls, scared people, uncertainty as aftershocks would not stop for two months after that. I remember I was afraid to leave our teenage kids and our dog Lilly at home, to go even to the neighborhood shop, out of fear that they might experience another strong earthquake and be stuck under ruins.

The aftermath of the damages was huge. And those days there was only one main question in the minds of Albanians: Is my house safe?

Teams of experts would inspect damaged buildings, cracked walls, to determine if the building were safe to live. And suddenly it seemed as we all became engineers, as we learned important laws you do not ignore in constructing foundations. Buildings were classified as safe when their foundational structures were not damaged. To our amazement there were nice, huge buildings, built in the last years, that were crumbled because the builders did not respect the foundation laws. These buildings had a huge and impressive body, but that massive, impressive body was not “rooted” well into the ground. They either missed the foundational pillars or those pillars were built by cement that did not have the right % of mix of important elements that would made the pillar solid to stand a strong earthquake. In other cases, the owners of the basement floors, in attempt to turn their properties into coffee shops had taken out the retaining walls as well as pillars. They did not consult with experts of the field, and in many cases even though they knew, their greed weighed more on their scale than doing what was right.

The inspection of the foundations, and especially the foundation pillars, has been an extraordinary picture of what a society is destined to experience if the pillars of its foundation are touched. And I do feel that today what we are experiencing in the world, and especially in USA, is exactly this. Important pillars of the society like family, marriage, life at conception, have been attacked and touched to be adjusted to certain groups who claim their rights to live free according to their desires and lifestyle.

Not only that, in their tragic and dangerous zeal they are demanding the rest of the society to accept these ways and lifestyles as normal, and they are aggressive in pushing an agenda to regulate their ideology by law, to the point that many are suppressed now to speak out and live by their values as they are considered morons, outdated, and in certain cases punished legally for refusing to offer certain services in order to live out their core values.

 I have never seen the society so polarized and divided. What hurts more is the diluted truth and even the attack on what the pillar of truth should look like, as truth is not any more a solid pillar, but it has turned into a subject of interpretation and personal preferences. Even among Christians, truth does not seem to have the same face anymore. Scripture has turned into a subject to be questioned and used to fit a certain interpretation and conviction. And sadly I would say, many seem to find it untroubling to their souls to celebrate the courage of those who in their zeal and commitment for liberty or social justice, but out of their distorted life view that opposes God, have put their pickax against family, marriage, life and have done more damages to the society than favor.

Our societies are crumbling. The sad reality is that when it crumbles many lives will be devastated under its ruins. An earthquake is not a respecter of a builder’s home. Some of the beautiful buildings that were crumbled by the earthquake in Albania belonged to people who owned constructing companies. They or their family members ended up under the ruins as well, losing their lives. Some of them are in jail now, for their irresponsibility and greed that led to loss of lives, even the lives of their own family members.

How did all this happen? How were all these nice and beautiful buildings allowed to be built?

It happened in small steps, from the conception, when important pillars were left out of ignorance, or greed: spend less and profit more; when a compromise was made in choosing a less qualitative cement and product or water the % of needed cement, in the name of greed; when those who had the responsibility to do their work and not give their approval chose to close their eyes and accept a bribe, when those owners of the first floors decided to allow changes in their properties without consulting experts and destroying important walls and pillars. Yes, it can happen, when you are silenced and cannot speak any more out of fear that you will be label as a moron, fanatic, extremist, close minded, ignorant, outdated; when your word is marked as fake news, false news; or are attacked, when you are afraid of losing your job, being marginalized, ostracized, attacked, or even penalized by the law at times like business owners who refused to bake a cake in order to be true to what they believed about life and institution of marriage.

“When the foundations are shaken, what can the righteous do?” Psalm 11:3

I believe the righteous will turn to God, in prayer, crying out to Him for strength, courage and grace to stand, for His intervention and His wisdom. And I believe that a righteous will build carefully on his life building, making sure that he is building on a firm foundation that will stand the test and storms of life. He will take hid to Jesus words, study and apply them carefully, building thus, put in Jesus own words, on a rock. She will not compromise or water the parts that make a foundation pillar but will be willing to pay what is needed to secure the best structure of her life. And in the chaos of different opinions and alternatives he will not cease to search the truth, till he finds it and hold unto it.

This is the fabric of the faith heroes and martyrs, those who were able to stand about their faith. This was the fabric of Noah, even though he was mocked and persecuted till the day of the flood that approved and vindicated his choice. He and many others that are on the hall of faith, built on the rock that is Jesus.

A house on the rock will stand any storm or earthquake.

Where have you built your life upon? How are the pillars of your life? Have you touched them in order to make room and adjust to the “new” that is presented and pushed to you?

What about your ministry or the company you lead? Where are its pillars?

Are they strong to stand?

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