A couple of years ago, I experienced my first earthquake. At the time, I was living in Texas on the second floor of an apartment complex. I had just gotten out of bed and was standing in the bathroom when the entire room began to move back and forth. It wasn’t really shaking; it was waving. At first, I thought my body was just having trouble waking up and that my balance was off, but then I looked at the wall and realized the things on the wall were moving back and forth. I asked my wife if she felt anything, and she said the whole bed was moving back and forth. The earthquake originated somewhere in Oklahoma. It could be felt as far south as Texas and as far north as Iowa. It was a powerful earthquake!
We’ve all seen the news headlines from earthquakes that have caused major destruction and disruption in peoples’ lives. Earthquakes don’t just shake things. They change the landscape of things, and their effects can be felt for miles.
The gospel is like an earthquake.
A couple weeks ago, I was teaching through Acts 16:16-40. Paul and Silas were thrown in prison because they cast a demon out of a slave girl who was making money for her owners via her demonic abilities. Her slave owners were angry at Paul and Silas, so they accused them of causing a ruckus and had them thrown in prison. While in prison, Paul and Silas began to pray and sing. As they did, there was a sudden (supernatural) earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison, causing the prison doors to fling open and unfastening the bonds that were holding Paul, Silas, and the other prisoners captive (Acts 16:25-26).
As I was studying this, it hit me how similar this was to the moment Jesus died on the cross and then again the moment that He rose from the dead. Take a minute and read Matthew 27:51-54 and Matthew 28:1-6. When Jesus died, there was a supernatural earthquake that not only shook the ground but tore the temple curtain in two and caused men who were dead to suddenly be raised back to life. When Jesus rose from the dead, there was a supernatural earthquake, and the stone that was sitting in front of the opening of His tomb was moved out of the way.
Do you realize this is the gospel? When the power of God is released into our lives, it’s like an earthquake.It’s destructive! It destroys strongholds in our lives. It destroys the chains that were enslaving us to our sin. It destroys the hold that Satan had on our lives. It’s disruptive! It disrupts plans we have made for ourselves. It changes the landscape of our hearts. It frees us from our guilt and shame that comes from sin. It moves us in a new direction than we were going before.
We all need this to happen in our lives. Prior to this supernatural earthquake, we’re all imprisoned by sin, and we’re all in bondage to our guilt and shame. The only thing powerful enough to set us free is the gospel (Jesus’ death and resurrection).The same earthquake that broke Paul and Silas out of prison can break us out of prison. The same earthquake that broke Jesus out of the grave can break us out of our grave.
The question is, which side of this earthquake are we on? Has it happened in our lives yet or not? This is an important question, because our answer to determines what our next step should be. If the earthquake has not yet happened in our lives, our response is to realize that it needs to and then to place our faith in Jesus.If the earthquake has already happened in our lives, then our response is to be like Paul and Silas and aggressively pray for God to cause an earthquake to happen in other peoples’ lives.
Austin Wadlow and his wife, Lesley, live in Iowa where he serves as the Teaching Pastor and Salt Company Director at Keystone Church in Ankeny, IA. You can connect with Austin via Twitter: @austinwadlow