Vale of Tears

Resisting Aftershocks



Resisting Aftershocks

The tsunami-lashed Andaman and Nicobar Islands have suffered 9,500 aftershocks since the undersea earthquake on Boxing Day that sent giant waves crashing into the emerald green archipelago.

Deadly aftershocks often follow hard on the heels of earth-quakes and tsunamis – and it can feel like this in grief, too. As the waves continue to buffet, all our instincts are to cry out, “Lord change our circumstances!” But since the Lord could have prevented whatever it was from happening, there may be better prayers to pray.

When loneliness and loss beat upon our shore, it is good to remember the many times when waves of love and blessing have swept our soul. By God’s mercy these good times will return, and sweep aside our present sadness.

If it feels for the time being as though we are being dragged along in the undertow of these waves – like someone opening their mouth at the wrong time and finding the ocean filling their lungs – we must somehow learn to ride them, just as a surfer catches the waves and uses their power to take them surging towards their destination. This is but another way of expressing my earlier image of throwing a jujitsu fighter by the force of his own charge.

If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink, Jesus invites (John 7:37). From the depths we cry out, “Lord I am battered and all but drowning – but Your word says Come to Me – and Your water is fresh and sweet to my soul. That is why I will pray, “Lord, come to my heart and change me,” rather than just “change the circumstances, please!”

This heartfelt prayer draws us into the silence of God – which is less loneliness than presence: an adventure waiting to be explored. How much better is this than storing up resentments, which at any moment can lead to make comments that are far better left unsaid?

Isn’t this what our souls have always been longing for? In this silent seeking, we join our hearts to millions around the world, and hear the echo of His surprising yet profoundly reassuring promises:

He who loses His life for My sake will find it . . . Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
Matthew 16:25; 19:19-20

Or as Jean Pierre de Caussade put it, “One often has more delight in finding refreshment anew than one ever had grief in its loss.”21


21 Jean-Pierre de Caussade. Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence. (2008) Baronius Press

Banner Photo by Colin Lloyd on Unsplash

Waterfall Photo by Ricky Rew on Unsplash