CAN YOU SUE THEM FOR AN EARTHQUAKE?
The Wall Street Journal this week reported the story of Sandra Ladra of Prague, Oklahoma. She was sitting in a recliner at home when the earthquake struck. As she describes it, the ground shook, her chandeliers “swung wildly” and the stone chimney in her house disintegrated, sending blocks through her roof and onto her legs. “‘I was screaming. I was trying to keep the blocks from hitting me’ said Ms. Ladra, 64 years old. Her home suffered more than $100,000 in damages, and a doctor says she needs surgery, she said.” Turns out it was a 5.6-magnitude quake, the strongest ever recorded in Oklahoma. (http://www.wsj.com/articles/frackings-new-legal-threat-earthquake-suits-1427736148) But it also turns out that officials of the Oklahoma Geological Society first suggested that the earthquake was the result of nearby oil and gas drilling, but later rescinded that decision and declared that quake to be from natural causes. Ms. Ladra isn’t buying their change of opinion. Her suit links her injuries and damage to fracking, an oil or gas drilling procedure “which involves shooting a slurry of water, sand and chemicals into wells to let oil and gas flow out.” Although in fact researchers now suggest that “the most serious seismic risk comes from a separate process: disposal of toxic fluids left over from fracking and drilling by putting it in wells deep underground. Geologists concluded decades ago that injecting fluid into a geologic fault can lubricate giant slabs of rock, causing them to slip. Scientists say disposal wells are sometimes bored into unmapped faults. The practice isn't new, but has proliferated with the U.S. drilling boom.” (Ibid) So Sandra Ladra is suing the giant energy conglomerates for the earthquake that caused her injuries. Given the global extent of fracking and drilling, you can understand the keen interest with which the oil and gas industry is watching this court battle. So who gets sued for the explosive earthquake that shook Jerusalem early Easter Sunday? “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it” (Mt 28:2). Have you noticed? An earthquake when He died, an earthquake when He arose, and an earthquake when He returns—you get the impression that Christ is the Lord of unbridled power, don’t you? Truth is, His enemies could have piled a thousand Mt Everests on top of His garden tomb—but it would have made no difference! Not even death could pin Him to the sepulcher. But maybe what has you pinned under the rubble right now isn’t death. Perhaps it’s debt . . . divorce . . . despair . . . or debilitating illness, fear, failure or loneliness. God knows all the enemy crumbles on top of us. Which is why—not only on Easter but for every day and night still ahead of us—we need to keep hearing that mighty cry when Jesus came striding out of that quake-shattered crypt and declared over the pre-dawn rubble, “I am the resurrection and the life!” It was indisputable then—it is so now. Death and even life may bury us—but in the power of the risen Savior we can still be resurrected. Sue Him? Never. Worship Him forever and ever. Amen.