Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 8, 1971
NUMBER 9, PAGE 6b-7a

One Minute

John Collins

At five fifty-nine A. M., February ninth, nineteen seventy-one, while the rest of the world moved through its normal pace, for several million people in southern California, the earth stood still.

We were sound asleep at the time but suddenly we were shaking, as if some giant hand had reached down and was tossing us to and fro. It was as if we had been sleeping next to an unseen railroad track and all at once the morning express had come rumbling through. The noise was frightening and the movement was terrifying; up and down, backward and forward, side to side, all at the same time. Our house was rocking on its foundation, the pictures were jumping on the walls, the lamps were swaying, and the hanging fixture in the living room swung back and forth as if some prankster had given it a big shove and then had hidden behind a chair to enjoy his trick.

Our children were scared. The boy came running into our bedroom asking what was happening. We said, "Earthquake." Fright filled his eyes and he dove into our bed. The girl was too frightened to leave her room.

We heard a crash and later realized that a ceiling lamp-cover had fallen in our son's room and scattered glass everywhere, moments after he'd left.

On we rocked and wondered, an eternity passed, then, after just one minute, it was over. Not a sound, everywhere was still. Suddenly-an aftershock. The house trembled again, for a few seconds. Not as strong, but just as frightening. Finally it settled down into a gloomy early morning quiet. The air was thick with fog.

"Mommie, Daddy, what happened?" The voice of our daughter brought us back to reality and we began looking over the house to see what damage had been done.

All that day we felt more aftershocks as the earth began settling from its gigantic stretch and yawn. Even as I write this article I feel slight tremors. I'm not sure if it's the earth or just my personal shaking as I realize again what we went through.

This was the second quake we've been in and the largest in this area since nineteen thirty-three.

As far as our personal situation is concerned, there was no damage. We lost only one light-cover. We haven't heard from other members of the church but we do know that the Sepulveda congregation is in the area that has been evacuated for fear of flooding. All we can do is pray and stand by, willing to assist any who need our help.

As we began realizing the damage that was done over the area it was almost beyond belief. Buildings collapsed, freeways crumbled, railroad tracks shoved around like toys, offices flooded, power lines down, gas mains ruptured, cracks in giant structures, fissures in the ground, roadways sunk several inches, hospitals falling apart, and death; as of this moment at least forty-four — all in just one minute. So much of man's proud achievements damaged or destroyed — only sixty seconds. More power than ten hydrogen bombs — one sixtieth of an hour.

"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," so little time that we hardly notice, yet the power unleashed and the destruction that resulted — fantastic!

As tragic as this affair was and is yet developing to be, a Christian ought to take a lesson of hope. Our heavenly Father made this earth and all therein. He set it in order and motivated its laws and activities. He has the ability to use its power and facilities at His discretion. "The earth is His."

When we would tend to be overwhelmed by the accomplishments of man and how much he seems to be progressing without God, remember, all God has to do is say the word and the earth will shake. There will come a time when not only will the earth shake but be consumed with fire as well.

Romans one and verse sixteen tells us the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. What kind of power? Living, active, and vibrant energy that can affect the hearts and lives of men as the world can shake and fall apart.

This is our God, our Father. Regardless of the terror mankind faces we should, as children of Jehovah, have the confidence as did Habakkuk when he said, "Yet I will joy in the God of my salvation. Jehovah, the Lord, is my strength; and he maketh my feet like hind's feet, and will make me to walk upon my high places." (3:18-19)

There is not a member of this family who will ever forget that one minute so early in the morning when our earth stood still.