A Matter of Faith: No ordinary quake


By Jan Davis

Special to The PREVIEW

Bev loved her little family and squeezed as much time together as feasible on the weekends. This evening, they planned to enjoy the teenagers’ soccer game in the park.

After a quick Saturday lunch, she laid her two youngsters down for naps.

Her husband, Jeff, headed back outside to finish yard work. The distant hum of his mower broke the silence in the quiet neighborhood.

Bev dipped her hands into the warm soapy water in the kitchen sink. An anxious sensation she couldn’t quite put her finger on created an uneasiness in her abdomen. Lost in self-examination, she gazed out the window.

Bev’s mind wandered back to last Sunday morning. Burrowed beneath the big comforter, the family had snuggled and giggled. Their safe haven protected from the world. Guilt tried to sneak in and spoil the memory.

Sam and Claire loved to attend Children’s Chapel and often begged to go. Sometimes she and Jeff put forth the effort, loaded everyone into the car and traveled the short distance to church. Bev knew church was important, but she cherished their family time.

Her mom dropped less-than-subtle hints about the benefits of church each time they talked. Miles apart, Mom set aside time for long conversations. She always managed to put a positive spin on life’s unpredictable challenges.

The floor shifted, the house shook and dishes rattled inside the cabinet. Bev snapped out of her brooding. An earthquake.

She grabbed the towel off the counter to dry her hands as she raced into the living room. With a quick toss, the towel drifted to the floor as she maneuvered around fallen lamps and shattered family photos.

Her head began to spin and a fit of nausea rose to her throat as she darted down the hall. Focused on the safety of her babies, Bev’s arms ached to hold and console them.

She opened the door and quickly scanned the room. Toys scattered on the floor and books, once straight in a bookcase, laid half-opened on the carpet. She held her breath and listened for a small whimper or whisper. Where are they? Maybe in the closets or under their beds. Nowhere. Vanished. Gone.

She raced back through the house and yelled “Sam, Claire,” as panic deep inside her chest began to surface. Maybe they snuck outdoors. She reached the front door as Jeff bolted in.

Fear gripped Bev’s heart. “I can’t find Sam and Claire.”

“Pray they didn’t sneak out.” Wide-eyed Jeff waved his hands in a frantic attempt to describe the destruction. “Power lines mingled with downed trees up and down the block. The erratic beep and racket of alarms pierce the air. Wrecked vehicles on the street, drivers missing, while passengers stand around in shock. Unbelievable. This was no ordinary quake. Something major caused this damage.”

Bev rushed to retrieve her cellphone from the kitchen island. She needed to talk to Mom. Deep within she realized even if by some miracle the phones connected, her Mom would not pick up. Nothing. Dead silence.

“Mom warned me, but I never took her serious.” She began to sob, not from fear, but grief created by a tremendous loss.

“Let’s go. We’ll knock on every door till we find them. Someone knows something.” Jeff reached for her hand.

Bev stared at him with a crazed look on her face. “I know.”

“Talk to me, Bev. Help me out. Now is not the time for riddles. If you know, then tell me.”

“Jesus came back. He took the kids and Mom to heaven and left us stuck here.” Bev crushed her head into Jeff’s chest and sobbed.

“No.” Jeff shook his head as the weight of the words hit him and he collapsed on the couch.

“I’m clueless where to start. How do we pick up the pieces without Claire and Sam?” Jeff held his head in his hands and wept.

Bev sensed a small shred of hope as she walked to their bedroom and retrieved the Bible stored in her closet, a present from her mom on their wedding day.

She hurried back to where Jeff still sat motionless. “We start here. We ask God to forgive us, to help us through the hard times and survive one day at a time.” She pressed the priceless gift to her chest. “The answers were here all along; we chose to ignore them.”

Jeff, unable to speak, stared at the Bible and nodded his head. They sat together on the couch, held hands and bowed their heads in prayer.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” ­—John 3:16 (NKJV).

Because of Jesus’ love and forgiveness, we stand poised to spend eternity with him.

I love you, but Jesus loves you more.