22: Are You Ready for the Big One?

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At least twice a week, the news stations sound the alarm that we need to get ready for the Big One, the earthquake that will rock Portland, Oregon. Our city officials are trying to get ahead of this and mandate that older buildings be reinforced to make them earthquake-proof. I don’t intend to get into the economics or politics of such an endeavor. But it is interesting that so much attention is given to making the foundations of our dwellings safe, but very little attention is given to explore the foundation of our lives. What is yours like? How does it do when you’re confronted with the storms of life? Does it produce peace, comfort, and hope? Or does it seem to crumble when you experience heartache? Are there cracks that have developed from traumatic shocks in the past?

Jesus spoke on this subject of foundations. In the Bible’s record of His longest sermon (Matthew 5-7), His concluding remarks were, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Jesus was boldly asserting that the stability of our lives is directly proportional to whether we follow Him or not. Jesus is not talking about just reading His words, but incorporating them, or applying them, into our lives.

It’s obvious that earthquakes wreak havoc, turning beautiful buildings into rubble and destroying lives. And the effects can reach far beyond the epicenter. When I was a young boy, my town was hit by a tsunami in 1964 caused by an Alaskan earthquake. I was not expecting to see the level of devastation that I did the day after. I’m concerned about the Big One, but before it strikes, I will likely face many other storms that are just as powerful, storms that will threaten to shake the very foundation of my life: illness, financial pressures, job loss, violence, concerns about my children, marital conflict, accidents. Guilt, stress, and anxiety shake up the lives of more people than do actual earthquakes.

Whose advice do you lean upon when these other storms bear down on you? Who are the “experts” that you trust? I rely on the expertise of many who know more than I, but even with their knowledge and skills, they are just people. I recommend to you the Lord Jesus as the “Expert” who knows how to deal with the temptations and storms that threaten to tear your life apart.

When I recommend Jesus to you, I’m not just speaking in theory. I have enjoyed His guidance for the last 47 years. More recently, one of the major storms to hit my life has been the manifestation of a neurological condition inherited from my dad. It’s got a long scientific name, but commonly it’s referred to as Joseph’s Disease. Now walking is very difficult (I use a walking stick or a walker) and I have a drunken gait. My legs have grown weak and wobbly. I can no longer run or swing a golf club. Last time I bowled, it was not a pretty sight. I’ve had to retire earlier than I planned.

So, how do I see Jesus using this for good in my life? I’m enjoying more time to help one friend with her charity (Apple of His Eye Charity), and assist another in his 4th-grade classroom. The Lord is also giving me more time to write these blogs and other materials to help people understand the Bible better. As I’ve sought to build my life around Jesus, I have found Him to be a firm foundation through it all. And that’s what I want for you, too!

Marlon Furtado

I regularly went to church as a boy, but I was not exposed to the Gospel until I was nearly twenty years old. Hearing that God loved me in spite of my behavior was new to me. In response, I received Jesus Christ and became one of His followers on September 12, 1971. I practiced chiropractic for eight years before becoming a pastor from 1986 to 2018.