This is a bit of a spur of the moment post, but one of my friends wrote on facebook today that it is seven years since Christchurch was hit with the first major earthquake. Later this afternoon, I got notification in my inbox of a blog post by Conscious transitions on the fear of losing control… these things combined stirred some thoughts in my head and I decided I would share them here. I don’t even know if these thoughts will string together on paper like they do in my head but I am just going to roll with them anyway.
Firstly, I can’t believe it’s been seven years! I’m trying so hard to wrap my head around that fact. This is probably stretching it a bit, but it’s kind of interesting that the number seven in the bible can mean completeness and I kind of feel like only now am I finally over the repercussions of the earthquake. I no longer jump every time a big truck goes past, thinking it’s another earthquake, or feel uneasy when it’s windy. It’s weird but because it was so windy the day after the earthquake, there was an association between the two in my mind for quite a while afterwards.
I talk about this more in my post on choosing trust over anxiety, but a few months after the 4 September earthquake, I was about to finish High School and I started getting these weird fears. I had this fear that I would get up on prize giving night and wouldn’t be able to walk across the stage, that my legs would just collapse beneath me. I also developed this fear in church when the wine and bread were being passed around, that I would just drop my cup of wine. It seems so stupid and irrational now, because even if I did drop my little cup of wine, what’s the worst that would have happened? At worst I would have stained my clothing, or the carpet. But at the time, this thought literally terrified me and it’s because I was afraid of losing control.
Normally we feel like we have at least a bit of control over our lives, we can choose what we want to do for a job, we can choose where we want to live, we can choose what we want to have for dinner, etc, but when the earth is literally moving beneath you, bringing down buildings, you have zero control. These irrational fears were me trying to cope with this.
What I really needed to remember was that while I had zero control over what was happening during the earthquakes, God had complete control.
He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. ~ Daniel 2:21
Recently I was looking at some notes on the letters to the seven churches at the start of Revelation. In particular, the church at Philadelphia. Philadelphia was prone to earthquakes, in fact, according to Strabo, they were almost a daily occurrence. We had had aftershocks almost every day for a couple of years after the 4 September earthquake and I don’t know why I never thought about this during that time. The thing that really made me stop in my tracks when reading these verses though, is the promise that the church of Philadelphia are given:
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out. ~ Revelation 3:12
A pillar. The stability and support of the temple. Strabo says of Philadelphia, “not even the walls are safe, but in a sense are shaken and caused to crack every day. And the inhabitants are continually attentive to the disturbances in the earth and plan all structures with a view to their occurrence.” Coming from a place of complete instability, what an amazing promise to be given! I feel so blessed to be able to share this hope as well.