In 1911, a powerful earthquake created a huge earthen dam 10,000 feet up in the Pamir Mountains. Right now, this dam is holding back a body of water that is fifty miles long and a mile wide.
Why is this important? Because experts believe that an earthquake of 7.5 or more on the Richter Scale will dislodge the dam. According to a United Nations report, the resulting flood would be the worst disaster in recorded history. Hurricane Katrina and the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 would be minor by comparison. The united States Army Corps of Engineers predicts that the resulting flood would work its way through several countries and threaten the lives of at least five million people* And yes, in case you’re wondering, earthquakes are common in the Pamir Mountains.
Sadly, you don’t have to go to Tajikistan to find a disaster waiting to happen. One may be closer than you think right this minute.
There’s the teenage girl who’s giving in to her boyfriend’s pleas for sex.
There’s the high school student who gets his hands on a fake I.D.
There’s the drunken partier who’s sliding behind the wheel of his car.
There’s the porn addict who’s hiding pictures on his computer.
There’s the chain smoker who keeps talking about quitting, but never does.
There’s the married man who can’t take his eyes off a female coworker.
I don’t want to minimize the suffering produced by natural disasters. I’ve lived through three hurricanes and one major earthquake myself, so I’ve seen the pain up close. But every day there are personal disasters that also create untold heartache and affect people, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
The good news is that, while no one can prevent an earthquake or redirect a hurricane, you can prevent the kind of personal catastrophes that are the result of bad choices. Right now, what do you need to do to prevent your own personal disaster?
For further reflection read Numbers 32:23, 2 Kings 24:3-4
*Steven D. Strauss, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Conflicts (New York: Alpha Books, 2006), 222