All Shook Up
All Shook Up, a hit recorded by Elvis Presley in the 50s, could be our theme song for the 2021 school year! The pandemic put everyone on shaky ground, and fear gripped many of us. Who could have predicted our educational lives would be turned upside down over night? It wasn’t just COVID that created uncertainty. We were also shook up by racial unrest AND natural disasters like hurricanes and tornados! I’m sure we all would have rather been shook up by love (like Elvis) than these worldwide crises.
None of us can know for certain why all of this has happened. I heard one pastor claim, “God is trying to get our attention. All of this is not occurring by accident!” I have to wonder if this might be true. After all, I do believe God is sovereign (Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 46:11). Nothing takes Him by surprise.
The events of the last fourteen months have left no one unscathed. No one. I can never remember a time in my life when this has been the case. Everyone has been impacted either physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. While our losses vary, the losses have been significant. We have all been shook up, and as the shaking appears to be slowing, what will remain?
One thing I know for sure. Much of what we often hold onto falls apart when our world starts to shake. I’m reminded of the fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs. You know the story! One made his home of straw, another made his home of sticks, and the third pig built his house out of bricks. When the winds started to blow (a.k.a., the Big Bad Wolf), only the brick house remained standing. If we attach ourselves to the straw or sticks of this world, we are in trouble. Only the unshakeable kingdom of bricks built by Almighty God will remain. It is time we loosen our grip on earthly things. The temporal will undoubtedly crumble under pressure.
I mentioned in last week’s blog that I had been reading in the book Hebrews during my quiet time. As I finished this week, I could not quit thinking about these verses. It was as if the Holy Spirit continued to whisper, “Unshakeable, unshakeable, unshakeable!”
When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. Hebrews 12:26-28
There is much we could glean from these verses, but for me, I continued to ponder what it meant to be part of God’s unshakeable kingdom. When our world is shaking, God is up to something. Perhaps He is trying to remove a hinderance in our lives or loosen our grip on earthly things. However, maybe He is reminding us of what we should hold onto (i.e., what IS unshakeable). When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are accepted into His kingdom. With this comes God’s promises, God’s provision, and God’s protection. This is our stability in an unstable world. This isn’t just about eternity. This is about our lives now!
For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. 2 Corinthians 1:20
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.Matthew 24:35
Do you realize what this means? Every promise made in God’s Word is unshakeable. Every promise in God’s Word will remain true forever! Everett R. Storms, a school teacher in Canada, made a detailed study of the promises in the Bible. During his twenty-seventh reading of the Bible, a task which took him a year and a half, Storms came up with a grand total of 8810 promises (7487of them being promises made by God to humankind).(1) When our world is all shook up, the promises of God remain. Do we know them?
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
There are at least 169 verses in the Bible that refer to the ways God provides for us. (2) We never have to worry about whether God is there for us. His provision and presence are unshakeable.
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Protection doesn’t always take on the form we might expect. While God has the ability to deliver us out of physical calamity or trouble, it may not be His will to do so (subject of another blog!). The true essence of God’s protection is the eternal indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22). The believer is sealed for the day of final glorification (Ephesians 1:13-14). We are protected in all things.
We have the ability, though, by allowing our sin nature to rule us, to depart from the will of God. A shield can only protect if it is picked up and used. We cannot sit back and say, “God will protect me!” if we have not done the things we ought to be doing. It is only through prayer and the study of God’s Word that we are assured of God’s protection in our lives. (3)
God’s kingdom is unshakeable! As long as we remain here, there will be times of shaking. What will we focus on? What will we invest time in? What will our priorities be? Will we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven or treasures on earth that will ultimately be destroyed? (Matthew 6:19-21) Will we build our house on the rock (bricks) or on the sand (straw and sticks)? (Matthew 7:24-27)
I never thought I would say this, but I have become grateful for this year of shaking. I can resonate with the words in Hebrews – Be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. I can’t help but wonder if this is what God had in mind all along, at least for me anyway. I have been reminded of His promises, His provision, and His protection. More importantly, I have experienced His love for me which has reignited my love for Him!
I feel like humming a little tune. I’m in love. I’m all shook up, Mm mm, oh, oh, yeah, yeah!
Note: Three Pigs analogy adapted from Tony Evan’s book of Illustrations, 2009, Moody Publishers,