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Earthquake–Earth Groaning?

San Simeon earthquake damage on Holy in the Daily post
Photo by Hey Paul of Pan Jewelers in Paso Robles days after the 2003 earthquake.

A sudden roaring noise and the house began to shake. Plants and antiques tumbled to the floor while I dashed to stand under a doorway.

On December 22, 2003 at 11:15 PST, a 6.5 earthquake struck the Central Coast of California and shook me out of over 50 years of complacency. Although a native Californian, I had never felt an earthquake of such power—nor been so unsettled.

Unlike many I know, my china remained intact and all but a few fragile treasures survived the quake. But ever since the earth moved under my feet, I have been watching news reports of earthquakes around the world with a new eye to their significance. Could it be that earthquakes express the reality of the creation groaning in anticipation of the Creator’s return? Might these tremblings be one of the signs prophesied so long ago in Scripture? (Romans 8:19-22 and Matthew 24:3-8)

The Last Century of Earthquakes

Increase of Earthquakes

Stephen S. Gao, a geophysicist at Missouri University of Science and Technology, says that compared to the 20-year period from the mid-1970s to the mid 1990s, the earth has experienced an increase of seismic activity in the last 15 years.

The data also points to the fact that we now have better technology and communication with which to locate, study, and distribute information concerning earthquakes—something we were missing just a hundred years ago.

History of Deadly Earthquakes

In looking at a timeline of the deadliest earthquakes since 1906, catastrophic earthquakes appear to be increasing since the 1960s. Yet, population growth and density is also responsible for escalating damage and death when an earthquake occurs.

A New Decade of Earthquakes Begins With a Roll

Since January of 2010, new stories of earthquakes have occurred weekly. Some aren’t significant enough to make our headlines, but nevertheless, the quakes occur. We are, of course, aware of these major events:

Haiti Earthquake

The 7.0 January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake killed over 200,000 people.

Chile Earthquake

The 8.8 earthquake in Chile on February 27, 2010 is the seventh strongest earthquake in history. The death toll continues to mount as reports from the 600-mile stretch of effected country come in. Over 90 aftershocks were recorded in the 24 hours following the quake.

Okinawa earthquake

The 6.9 earthquake in Okinawa on February 27, 2010 caused little damage, but adds to the number of earthquakes in that region of the world.

Argentina Earthquake

A 6.1 earthquake struck Argentina on February 27, 2010 shortly after the earthquake in Chile was recorded. News sources say it was not an aftershock of the Chile shaker.

New Future Earthquake Concerns

Some expect another large earthquake to hit Haiti next year.

When an earthquake hits, we immediately grieve over the loss of life and wonder how to help those in need. But what do you think about when the earth shakes? Are these earthquakes the groanings of a planet in anticipation of her Creator’s return? Does the fear of the earth moving beneath your feet cause you to tremble?

This is what the Bible says: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2 NIV). I’m grateful for these words of comfort and promise. How about you?

Please share your earthquake experiences and thoughts in the comment section below.

In Him together, Susan Gaddis

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This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jeanette Morris

    Also as a native Californian, I have experienced many earthquakes. But none compared to the San Simeon quake. Here’s why: After my boss screamed “Get out!” and I raced out to the parking lot and kneeled on the asphalt to keep from falling down, an audible grumbling rumble passed from my left and continued eastward. Several other employees stood or sat near me. We looked at each other with eyes wide open in amazement. Yes, it was definitely a groan. And that’s when I experienced Romans 8:22. Come, Lord Jesus.

  2. Donna

    Through the years there have been signs, and I remember people heading for the hills (literally) because they were convinced the end was at hand. I appreciate your post and how you did some research. It may serve as a reminder to some to live each and every day to its fullest, as though it could be their last.
    My favorite part of your post is the scripture from Psalms – a perfect parting word! Thanks!

  3. Mary

    I like all the information you give here. Interesting. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Deanna McAlister Hosea

    I was living on Okinawa at the time almost two years ago…already! It was upgraded to a 7.0. I thought we were going to die that morning. It was right at 0530 and I was awakened by my bed shaking violently. We experienced many earthquakes there…5.8-ish and lower…the 3 years we were stationed there. None could compare to that one, though. But, we were ready to go!

    1. Susan Gaddis

      Wow, that must have been quite the adventure–one to tell the grandkids about someday. I’m glad you made it through, Deanna, and that you have such a positive attitude about a very frightening experience. Bless you.

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