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Treasures of the Kingdom, Number 50 (Fall 2009) | Timeless Truths Publications

When Mountains Shake

“Hey, Dad!” Troy said, “See this model? It shows where the eruption went!”

“And here’s a picture of what Mount St. Helens used to look like,” said his sister, Alisha. “It looks like half the mountain blew away!”

Dad smiled at the children’s excitement. “There are a lot of things we can learn about volcanoes at this museum,” he agreed. “Maybe you’ll get some ideas for your science reports.”

“Down here it tells what happened,” Alisha pointed out. “See that picture? It looks like fire is shooting out of the mountain.”

“ ‘The Indians called it “mountain of fire,” because it kept erupting,’ ” Troy read.

“But after awhile people forgot that Mount St. Helens was an active volcano,” Dad pointed out. “It was hard for them to believe that it would erupt again.”

“Look, here are pictures of the eruption!” Troy called from further down the room. “It says the ash cloud went 14 miles high!”

“Wait a minute,” said Dad. “Weren’t there several warnings before it blew on May 18?”

“A small eruption in March made a hole in the top,” said Alisha. “And a bulge started to grow on one side. That would be creepy!”

“And remember how earthquakes let people know what is happening beneath the earth?” said Dad. “There were a lot of earthquakes before the mountain erupted. God is good to give us warnings before trouble comes, isn’t He?”

“Volcanoes cause a lot of damage,” Troy pointed out. “It says that more than 200 square miles of forest was destroyed. It looks like a different world.”

“Why did God make the mountain blow up?” wondered Alisha as she joined her brother. “It caused so much damage and 57 people were killed.”

“A lot more were spared,” Dad pointed out. “Because it was Sunday, the forestry crews were off the mountain. And because of all the warnings, most of the people had evacuated their homes. God showed a lot of mercy.”

Alisha wasn’t so sure. “But why did the mountain have to erupt anyway?”

“Volcanoes and other natural disasters show God’s power,” Dad explained. “He allows them to work His purposes and teach us things. What can we learn from the eruption of Mount St. Helens?”

“That I wouldn’t want to be nearby when it happened!” said Troy.

“But you might not know when it would blow up,” Alisha said. “I think I’m going to be scared of mountains after this!”

“You don’t need to be afraid if you remember who is in charge,” Dad said, as they left the museum. “Lots of times people get afraid of the wrong things. Can you think of a time God talked to a prophet on a mountain?” He asked, turning on the car motor. “I think he was afraid of someone.”

“Elijah!” said Troy. “He was afraid of Queen Jezebel because she said she would kill him, so he ran off into the desert.”

“He wanted to die, but an angel brought him food,” added Alisha.

“He was pretty discouraged,” Dad agreed. “But what did the angel tell him?”

“To go to the mountain and God would talk to him.”

“Why didn’t God just talk to him under that juniper tree?”

Alisha thought a moment. “Because He wanted to show him something?”

“Yes. Oftentimes when we are discouraged and want to give up, we need to get close to God and see what He can do,” said Dad. “And that is just what happened to Elijah. Tell me what happened on the mountain, Troy.”

“Well, I think he went in a cave first,” Troy began. “And Elijah said that he was the only one left that loved God and he wanted to die. Then God told him to stand on the mountain and a big wind came that broke up the rocks. I guess that would be a pretty strong wind!”

“Sort of like the blast from Mount St. Helens that knocked down all those trees,” said Dad.

“I guess so,” said Troy. “Maybe it was like an eruption, because then there was an earthquake and a big fire.”

“What do you think that God was trying to show Elijah?” asked Dad. “Was He trying to make him afraid?” The children shook their heads. “He wasn’t in those disasters, was He?” agreed Dad. “But He did prove something to Elijah. The God who can shake a mountain isn’t afraid of an angry queen!”

“God isn’t afraid of anything,” said Troy.

“But it can be easy to forget that,” said Dad. “And there is something else that we can forget. What happened next to Elijah?”

“God talked to him in a still small voice,” said Alisha.

“Isn’t that a wonderful thing?” said Dad. “The Lord is so big and powerful that He could destroy this whole world in a moment, but instead He comes and talks to our hearts. We need to remember to listen for that still, small voice when we face troubles and disasters, don’t we? God showed Elijah that He still had work for him to do.”

“And He said that there were seven thousand people who still wanted to do right,” said Alisha. “That’s a lot!”

“We forget the good things when trouble comes,” agreed Dad. “We need to be reminded that God is still in charge and He has work for us to do. That reminds me, your next assignment will be to share what you have learned!” Dad said with a wink.

“Thanks for the field trip,” Troy said. “It was a lot of fun.”

“I’ll never think about volcanoes the same way,” Alisha added. “I think I’m going to write a story about a girl that got rescued after an eruption.”

“And will she be afraid forever after, or learn something?” asked Dad.

Alisha smiled. “I think she’ll learn that God is near us, wherever we are,” she decided.

Questions for you:

  • What two things do people often forget about God?
  • Why do you you think God allows disasters?