How God used New Daylight during an earthquake
I find writing Bible reading notes powerful and humbling, especially when I hear how God uses them in the lives of the readers. When people get in touch with me to share how a devotional reading ‘just happened’ to fit into their unique situation, I smile and breathe a word of thanks to God. Only he could use words that were written a year before, with all of the editing and design and distribution efforts from a gifted team of people, and have them land at just the right moment in someone’s life.
Recently on BBC One’s Songs of Praise, I got to meet Alison Taylor, a reader from New Zealand, whose reading of New Daylight in 2011 brought her God’s comfort. She had met with a prayer group in which they shared stories about the recent earthquake in Christchurch. As part of their meeting, she read aloud the New Daylight reflection for the day, which explored how Jesus calmed the storm from Matthew’s gospel.
‘When people get in touch to share how a reading “just happened” to fit their situation, I smile and give thanks to God.’
Then [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’Matthew 8:23–27 (TNIV)
Just under an hour after leaving the prayer group, Christchurch was hit with yet another terrible earthquake. As Alison recounted in the letter:
As I took refuge under a rack of clothes in the shop I was passing through, I cried out to the Lord, in fear, to protect and save me and my family. I remembered what I had just read to the group and tried to trust Jesus.
Left: Amy being interviewed by Revd Kate Bottley for BBC One’s Songs of Praise
Jesus calms the storm
Alison recalled the words in the reading about Jesus calming the storm – that what Jesus and the disciples experienced was no ordinary storm, as hinted at by the Greek word used in the original text, seismos, which usually means an earthquake or literally a ‘shaking’. But Jesus calmed the storm through his words, rebuking the wind and the waves. Alison held on to the hope that Jesus would calm the storm she was even then experiencing.
The past three weeks have been difficult, and nothing is the same, but all our family are well and this has brought us closer to the Lord.
Alison wrote to me over a decade ago, and we’ve stayed in touch via email and social media. But I hadn’t met her until the day in Oxford when we taped Songs of Praise. As much as we would have loved to meet in person, we did so virtually.
Being able to chat with Alison and to hear the story from her again all these years later deepened my gratitude to God. As I reflected after my conversation with her, I knew that someone had been at work behind the scenes.
‘Being able to hear the story from Alison again all these years later deepened my gratitude to God.’
This story of God providing comfort and hope during an earth-shattering crisis is out of the ordinary; after all, earthquakes thankfully do not happen every day. But God connects with his people regularly and unfailingly. I may hear amazing stories such as this one more rarely, but I also hear from readers who share how God showers his love on them in their regular reading of New Daylight or Day by Day with God.
God loves to communicate with us. Why not see how he might speak to you through some of BRF’s Bible reading notes?