Standing Firm

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2016 19 Apr

A woman standing on a rock with her back to the water.

Imagine that you are sound asleep, when suddenly you’re woken by a large blast. You rush outside, thinking that a neighboring house has just exploded. But everyone insists that the noise came from inside your house. Rushing back in, you discover the source. A hole thirty-two inches wide and forty feet deep has just opened up in the floor. A little bigger, and your body might be lying mangled at the bottom of it, because the gaping hole happens to be located beneath your bed!

Sound unlikely? It happened to Innocenta Hernandez, who lives in a neighborhood just north of Guatemala City.1 Built on volcanic deposits, this area of the country is particularly prone to sinkholes. In 2010, a giant sinkhole swallowed a three-story building and a nearby home. The trouble with sinkholes, of course, is that although they often form gradually, they can open up suddenly, with disastrous results.

Listen to what God said more than 2,500 years ago to a man who was standing over a spiritual sinkhole, though he didn’t know it. The prophet Isaiah delivered this word to King Ahaz of Judah:

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all” (7:9, NIV).

A few sentences earlier, Isaiah noted that “the hearts of the king and his people trembled with fear, like trees shaking in a storm” (7:2, NLT). But Isaiah went on to assure the king that he had nothing to fear from his enemies because God would soon act. Unfortunately, Ahaz spurned the message, allying himself not to God but to a foreign power, which eventually led to disastrous consequences for his people.

Like Ahaz, each of us will face challenges that seem too big to handle. Confronted by them, we may even begin to tremble like trees in a storm. When that happens, let’s move away from the sinkhole of fear and doubt and take our stand on firmer ground.

  1. AFP, “Sinkhole Forms under Guatemalan Woman’s Bed,” Google News, July 19, 2011,