He stood, and shook the earth;
He looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
and the age-old hills collapsed –
but He marches on forever.
Thrust upward and then back down again.
Overturned. Unsteadied. Undone.
A cyclone of flurries whirred inside the homemade snow globe that my son had built during school hours. He’d been meticulous about his work, taking several days to complete the project. The scenery he’d crafted inside the glass bulb was a youngster’s rendition of a faux community – a fairly intricate combination of city and country. And now, infinitesimal white particles hustled around the unsettled hillside as he vibrated the bulb in his hands. A blinding white blizzard blanketed the sphere.
My boy’s eyes lifted from the dome and sparkled as he waited for my approbation. I was pretty impressed actually. You know, that a kid had done this. Not bad at all. The white confetti seemed to hypnotize my thoughts and I was silent for a split second too long – long enough to unnerve the little one. His tug on my jacket sleeve snapped me back to conscious thought. I looked down at his sweet face, touched my fingertip to the edge of his nose and told him how fantastic his work really was. Satisfied, he grinned from ear to ear then quickly set his invention on the kitchen counter before running off to play with his visiting cousins.
That flustering scene – tumultuous and frazzled – caught my eye again. My thoughts were fixated. Somehow, it felt familiar. Personal.
The cyclone of chaos inside this enclosed world morphed into a mental picture of my own real one. There’d been unexpected calls. Unanticipated diversions. Interruptions and disruptions – some good but others difficult – that had overwhelmed my family and me over the previous year. Our days, weeks and months had seemed like a blur of activity as we were stirred up with dizzying winds of change.
Three hundred and sixty-five unforgettable days . . . of shaking.
I imagined a caricature of myself inside that globe. My hands plastered to its cool, curved insides. My wide eyes peering out, wild with questions and concerns, shocked that it is my Maker who is shaking my globe. And, I’m trying. Trying. Trying to steady myself amidst the jolts of life while wondering why and sometimes questioning His kindness and care.
The shaken sphere in front of me was a microcosm of the one around me.
And, maybe . . . the one around you too.
Look around. Is your life unsettled? Shaken? Stirred up by fortuitous circumstances and interruptions that have left you dazed and dizzy? Fresh difficulties and struggles or opportunities and activities wafting around you that refused to be tamed or controlled? You stumble into bed at night and then struggle to keep yourself sure-footed and balanced during the day. Your circle of influence caught up in a fluster of pulsating surprises that you aren’t quite sure how to navigate.
It’s possible that God is behind it all.
The prophet Habakkuk saw a vision of this – the Creator surveying the earth and then taking hold of it in His all-powerful yet tender, kind hands. He didn’t stroke it, placate it with a soothing touch that stilled and brought tranquility. No, the Maker shook the creation. Intentionally. But, His reason was soon made clear. The frailty and impermanence of earth’s contents was revealed. The mountains and hills – symbols of refuge, security and permanence – were dismantled. The seemingly immovable was sovereignly undone. And in the end, there was only One who remained . . .
The Maker. The One who’d created the globe in the first place and held it in the hollow of His palm. The shaking proved Him alone to be the everlasting.
This is what divine shaking does. It dismantles the symbols of grandeur in which we have unknowingly placed our security – the mindsets and attitudes and activities and ailments that have exalted themselves on the landscape of our lives. The Maker’s orchestrated tremble breaks them into countless pieces of rubble until they prostrate themselves before His holiness. Then, they are reminded – we are reminded – that He alone is the everlasting.
So, yes, sometimes the Lord will shake. He’ll allow an unsettling in order that His purposes might be served and His own name repositioned and glorified. But, we never have reason to fear and we can always be confident in His care because His love is unending and His providential foresight unmatched. And while we will feel slightly disheveled as we readjust our perspective to the new landscape of our lives, the One who holds us will never be moved. He stands strong. Watching us. Holding us. Caring for us.
So, take a moment. Steady yourself. Gain your balance. Catch your breath. And then, as quickly as you can, lift your eyes. For when you do, you’ll see His caring face looking back at you in the midst of the whirlwind.
You are not forgotten.
Your globe is safe in the unshakable care of the One who marches on forever.