Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Though the earth give way

About half an hour ago I was sitting at our "dining room" table, reading, when all of a sudden I noticed that everything began to . . . shake. At first I thought that one of my roommates snuck up behind me and was shaking my chair, but then I saw the bookshelf rattling against the wall. This went on for about fifteen seconds. My friend Clarissa, who was sitting on the floor in her flat, said "It felt like our apartment was made of nothing."

As it turns out, there was an earthquake of 5.2 magnitude on the Richter scale in the town of Gemlik, some 100-plus miles from us on the southeast corner of the Sea of Marmara. Couple this with Friday's 5.2 quake in the not-so-distant city of
Balıkesir, and it can't help but make me slightly uneasy. While speaking with a civil engineering professor at a local university last year about the general lack of quality and adherence to codes in construction, he commented, "When--not if--a major earthquake hits here, it could be the costliest natural disaster in history."

For a while last year, honestly I was gripped with a bit of paranoia and fear regarding the possibility of a severe quake. But standing over and against that is Psalm 46 and the God Most High who holds the world in his hands:

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,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. (vv. 1-3)

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