May 16, 1968, began like every morning for my brother Wayne and his wife, Julane, at the Misawa Air Force Base in Japan. However, by the end of the day, they had experienced an 8.2 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami resulted in significant damage to structures and the loss of over fifty people.
I remember the stories from their experience during the earthquake and aftershocks, the anxiety of not knowing if the other had been injured, and the cleanup of the damage to their household.
Four decades later, they experienced another earthquake, a 6.0, with the epicenter located south of Napa, California, a mere 36 miles from their community. One person died, close to 200 people were injured, and the area suffered heavy property damage, fires, and power outages—around $400 million. For Wayne and Julane, I assume this milder earthquake shook loose memories of the 1968 earthquake.
In today’s scripture lesson, God assures the Israelites that during hard times, he hears their cries. When a disaster hits in the U.S., the government hears the calls, too. President Obama declared the Napa earthquake a federal disaster and made available $87 million dollars for recovery.
Thank you, God, for being the epicenter of hope for those going through a disaster. Amen.