© Cindy Thomson, 2006
Faith is tested in times of crisis. Remember how the churches were filled right after the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?
People fear God's judgment or want to somehow makes sense of the crisis they are experiencing. But far too soon, when they realize it's not the end of the world or they realize that no sense can be made of senseless acts--whether of nature or man--they fall away.
One example is the New Madrid Earthquakes of 1811-1812. The town of New Madrid, Missouri, is thought to have been the epicenter of several large earthquakes, perhaps 9.0 or higher. It was felt all over the eastern half of the United States and even into Canada. People thought Matthew 24: 6-7 was being fulfilled: "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." Remember that the War of 1812 was looming and Tecumseh was attempting to organize Indian troops against the white man.
To further bring panic, people thought Revelation 6:12-13 was coming true: "There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth..." A sulfur-like fog filled the air after the quakes, concealing the sun. The vapors took on a reddish hue. And a comet had been seen in the sky for months, leading people to believe that the stars were indeed falling.
Predictably, people turned to churches. But soon fell away. That leads me to wonder if the Celtic faith has an element to it that sustains believers through such things. Celtic people of the past believed that the spiritual was ever present. While no one likes to endure such disasters, wouldn't we be much better off if we realized that the Creator's hand is always present? That while the way may be rough, the landing will be soft because we land in his arms. Reminds me of the old Irish saying that I used in my novel, Brigid of Ireland: "If God sends you down a stony path, may he give you strong shoes." The ancients didn't fear troubles; they expected them. But they trusted God to help them through it.