Disaster Management

Gaius Octavius Thurinus, popularly known as Augustus Caesar, while referring to his ambitious building campaigns, claimed that he “found Rome a city of clay but left it a city of marble.” History credits him with multiple civil works some of which still stand today. The month of August, in the Gregorian calendar, is a personification of the man Octavius Thurinus.

Octavius reigned up to Jesus’ early teenage years and then passed on. He had taken over from his great uncle Gaius Julius Caesar and he became one of Rome’s greatest leaders. His great uncle was of no little status either. Octavius left behind a splendid legacy by consolidating and stabilizing the Empire but most important public works and infrastructure.

The Romans were ahead of the rank when it came to public works and sanitation. They came up with structures that have endured harsh elements of weather for centuries. They had extensive networks of roads that would somehow take you to the gates of Rome – the seat of power. These extensive roads gave birth to the famous English phrase ‘All Roads Lead to Rome’.

There are several explanations to the toughness of the structures they built and I believe one of them is their Strong Foundations. I am a firm believer in the law of cause and effect. Every effect has a cause. Every firm building has a strong foundation. Things do not just happen.

Are the Foundations that paramount?

The foundation is regarded as the most important element of any building, be it a house or a high-rise. We can simply put, the foundation is what everything rests on. So getting the foundation right will go a long way toward having a sound and stable building for many years.

Two thousand years after Augustus Caesar walked on the face of the Earth, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 rocked Southeast Asia. It sent huge tidal waves, crashing onto the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and East Africa. It killed over 200,000 people and rendered millions homeless and jobless. It is one of the worst disasters in the history of humanity. This is what came to be known as The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

According to the National Geographic Society, the earthquake that caused the tsunami is thought to have had the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs. That is quite scaring!

It is amazing how destructive forces of nature can become when working in cahoots. 

People in Indonesia saw animals fleeing for high ground minutes before the tsunami arrived. In the animal kingdom, this phenomenon is often as a result of what we call ‘Instincts’ and in humans, it is referred to as ‘Intuition’. It is what the populace call ‘sixth sense’. The ability to perceive, comprehend and make quick conclusions without harnessing reasoning or logic.

Are there disasters in our lives?

Disasters are a part and parcel of life and some regions of the world are more vulnerable than others. A good example is Japan. Japan, the third-largest economy in the world, has had its fair share of natural and anthropogenic disasters – think of the Second World War and continuous air pummeling by Allied Forces, The Nagasaki and Hiroshima Bombings, and the frequent high Richter-scale earthquakes! This has made Japan develop some of the most sophisticated and earthquake-proof architecture in the world. The buildings may sway back and forth, but unless a huge crack opens up right underneath, they will not fall. The foundations are dug deep and with massive shock absorbers that dampen seismic energy.

Earthquakes, floods, storms and tsunamis in life are bound to happen. They will typically knock at our doors when we least expect.

What did Jesus say about storms of life?

Jesus lived at the time when the Roman Empire was at its acme in terms of peace and prosperity. This is the era the historians call Pax Romana. There were great accomplishments in areas of transport and construction industry. It must have been a time of ecstasy. Utopia had arrived in Rome, not in retail, but in wholesale.

Jesus, as a good teacher, taught His Disciples Disaster Management. He knew disasters will obviously occur. He had to prepare them. This is found in Luke 6:46-49 where Jesus talks of two people who built houses albeit on different foundations.

The two men were in need of houses.

They all built houses.

They all experienced the floods and vehement storm.

The storm was vehement but just for a time; temporary.

One of the two men survived.

The reason for his survival was a strong foundation. The foundation was strong because it was set on a rock. The rock absorbed the devastating forces of nature.

Storm-free life is an illusion. It a mirage in the desert. The deleterious impact of the fall of man cannot be swept under the carpet. We cannot spray ourselves with perfume to keep away storms. We cannot hide our heads under the sand and assume they will never happen. On the contrary, we shouldn’t live in a dystopia. Yeah, they will come, but they are temporary.

Consequently, the best we can do is to get our foundations right. We can achieve this by getting the best Structural Engineer.

Jesus is the structural engineer. His words are structural drawings. Adhering to His words is equal to following the drawings of a seasoned and acclaimed structural engineer. Erecting a building while strictly observing the drawings will result in a solid structure that will withstand every beating of the storm.

And after every storm, there is always sun.

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