How often are we afraid? Some of you may have dealt with fear as a child, when the bogeyman was very real. But, I don't mean fear as in the bogeyman or even "I'm afraid to face the day", I mean truly fearful for our lives afraid. Thank God, that does not happen much to us here in suburban Virginia. Today's reading, and certainly much of Revelation, deals with real, raw fear. Or, at least things that could and should cause such fear.
I can't imagine what it would look like to have the stars fall out of the sky. Then, after that, the sky recedes, as if it was rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed. Gone. Vanished. Today's reading deals with the full fury of God in opening the sixth seal. I think I would be more than afraid.
But, I do know the fear of being in an earthquake. Being from California, I've lived through many. Some not so bad and some very bad. It did not matter, though. When I was in one, I was afraid for my life. There is absolutely no place safe to turn. No matter where you are, a building could fall on you or the earth could swallow you up. It did not matter how many drills you had in school. They were terrifying. I was 30 when I left California. I was not yet confident in my faith to not be afraid of death. So, when we left, I was relieved in an unbelievable way. In fact, for the first month I was in Virginia, I swear I felt several earthquakes. Believe me when I say - true fear is horrible. You can only hope that you go your entire life without being in that kind of paralyzing fear. And yet, the earthquake in today's reading would, I imagine, be the worst ever.
The Book of Revelations tells us that those who truly follow Christ need not be fearful. The very purpose of these events is to separate those of faith from those with no faith. So, you better have your act together or you may be mistaken for someone with no faith. If you have 45% faith, what will happen to you?
The point I am making is that there is no in-between with faith. Either you are in or you are out. You are 0% or your are 100%. So make up your mind.
But I can tell you first hand -- you do not want to be in that earthquake.