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The Los Angeles area recently experienced an earthquake. Of course, a little 5.4 magnitude jolt should hardly qualify as news in Southern California. Yet, news it became. Scientists saw this tremor as a warning or even a rehearsal for the larger quake that lurks ominously in the bedrock.

According to CNN.com, “scientists believe that a major quake—the feared ‘Big One’—will strike California within the next few decades.” They reported that the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast predicts that “there is a 99 percent chance of the state experiencing a quake of magnitude 6.7 or larger in the next 30 years.” Given the obvious data and risks, residents were urged to take the necessary precautions, learning earthquake survival tips and assembling emergency supplies.

Most interesting to me were the iReport comments of John Carroll who moved to Hollywood in 2005. He initially harbored a healthy respect for earthquakes, vividly recalling frightful pictures of collapsed overpasses. At first he instinctively sped up under the bridges so as not to be caught unawares. He got over it quickly: “You kind of learn not to think about that anymore. You train yourself that this is Los Angeles, and this is the way it is.” Now, after experiencing a quake firsthand, Carroll says, “I don’t think I’d leave L.A. because of earthquakes. I like L.A. so much; it’s too much fun to be here. But I do know [The Big One] is a possibility.”

The Big One

According to the experts, the Big One will come; it is only a matter of time—and probably not much time. You may be sure that Californians are well informed of the situation and the risks. They know they would be safer if they didn’t live on or around a major fault line, but I see no mass exodus from the area. They know the value of earthquake survival kits, but I fear many are so busy living life and having fun that they put off preparing for an event that does not appear an imminent threat.

According to the Bible, Jesus will come; it is only a matter of time—and probably not much time. We are well informed of the situation and the risks. We know that we would be safer if we distanced ourselves from sin. We know that preparation for the coming crisis requires a faith in God that is cultivated by a daily walk with Him. We need the sort of radical commitment that enables us to turn away from the things of this world without looking back. Yet, how often do we put off preparations for another day? Our comfort zones are oh-so-comfy, and radical Christianity might cause us to squirm. Jesus seems to be tarrying, so why shouldn’t we? We’d rather take a chance on the biggest event of earth’s history than be inconvenienced to prepare for the future.

Like the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13, we are well advised to be prepared with the necessary oil to keep our lamps burning because we “do not know the day or the hour” that Jesus, our bridegroom, will arrive (vs.13).

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture take from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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