Posted On January 20, 2021

What Remains After Life is Shaken

by | Jan 20, 2021 | Hebrews, Featured

Hebrews 12:26-27, “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.

When my husband and I first immigrated to our new country, we enjoyed the benefits of good preparedness. From clothing to rental apartments, we researched online for months. What were the best brands for winter clothing, trusted by Canadians? What were the budding industries in the city we would call home, with the best job prospects? We worked hard to prepare mentally for the major movement immigration would cause on our lives.

Though our research proved helpful with matters of clothing and understanding the cultural complexities of French-speaking Canada, we soon experienced a far weightier need.

Nothing prepared us for the loneliness that comes with immigration.

We navigated the shifts of our “outside” lives. External changes that literally moved our everyday lives: our mailing address, language for communicating, learning street names and bus routes. Our internal lives proved much harder to manage and understand.

At 40, the anonymity of starting over in the middle of life felt unsettling. In a brisk moment contained in a nine-hour flight, we went from being known by our friends, neighbors, and family, to a name and last name on government forms and job and housing applications most pronounced wrong and several looked on with distance and mistrust. This starting over shook our lives to the core.

In the same way we shake a test tube to test its content for evidence of particles otherwise unnoticeable, immigration agitated our lives and brought to light idols we’d been carefully building and blindly serving for years.

A basic human need like the need to be known, has been covered with layers of accolades, so that need to be known was replaced with the desire to be admired and validated. Both my husband and I had master’s degrees and ample experience in our fields. Without realizing it, we had made these blessings become a measure for our worth. Becoming immigrants uprooted these notions like weeds from the garden of narratives we’d fed our minds for so long.

In Hebrews 12:26-27, the writer brings us to a frightful scene from the Old Testament (Exodus 19:18) at Mount Sinai when the very sound of God’s voice shook the ground where the Israelites stood. The verses mention the promise from God that “Yet once more” God will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.

We learn that “Yet once more” alludes to a shaking so severe it means to remove what is made, so that “the things that cannot be shaken may remain.” The connotation is that what remains is not something that has been made, but rather has been present all along; God and God’s kingdom.

One of the many blessings that came with immigration was things not seen becoming evident to us once more. I don’t think either of us fully understood the idolatry we’d built around our definitions of worth and success. When they stopped serving us we realized we had been serving at that altar for a long time.

The loneliness that comes with being a newcomer is indeed very hard on the heart. But as with all things, God can use it to shed light in corners that might otherwise be kept dark where we don’t really see what we are feeding our soul.

When our trusty measures of worth proved nearly irrelevant, life felt small and insignificant. With all our sources of confidence shaken out, what was left? A flickering minuscule quivering faith. What a relief that the object of that faith is not small or quivering, but a King of kings and a solid Rock of Ages.

And it’s that truth that was left for us to uncover, unscathed, underneath the debris of our shaky foundation that those first years of immigration shook and removed from our lives.

What has God shaken so strongly that only He is left to sustain you?

Related Posts

Our Greatest Need

Our Greatest Need

On today’s For Life and Godliness show, Drew considers knowing our great need of Christ, how to be sure you are known by God, and availing yourself of the means of grace. What you’ll hear in this episode Critically assessing our needs versus our ultimate need for...

Science And Theology

Science And Theology

Genesis 2:19, “Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. We have been...

In Praise of Christian Virtue

In Praise of Christian Virtue

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave continues the Titus series looking at Titus 2:15-3:3 and an authoritative ministry of Words, a reminder to be good citizens, and neighbors. What you’ll hear in this episode An Authoritative Ministry of God’s Word. A Reminder to...

When Anxiety Grips Our Hearts

When Anxiety Grips Our Hearts

Shelbi and Kim continue their "Issues of the Heart" series by turning their attention to what God's Word has to say about battling ungodly worry.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share17
Tweet
Email
Reddit
Share