Hugo was a young man in his early twenties who worked for the Department of Agriculture in Lima, Peru, [South America]. His job was to travel to other places in his country to estimate crop production for the coming year. Many of the people in Peru were poor, and many were without jobs. Thousands lived in tiny grass huts scattered across the dry mountainsides. They had no running water and no electricity. Since there were so many in need, Hugo was thankful he had such a good job and looked forward to an easier life than many had.
Sadly, Hugo had never really thought about the fact that there was something more important than having a good job and an easy life in this world. He had never thought about the fact that he would someday have to leave this world and stand before God. He had not once heard the good news of the love and grace of God. No one had ever told him that Jesus had suffered and died on the cross for sinners. In fact, Hugo seldom thought about God at all. But among all the many millions of people in Lima, God was watching Hugo and waiting to speak to him.
One day Hugo had to go to a town to inspect the crops of that area. He stayed in a hotel near the central plaza and had noticed the large statue that was in the middle of the plaza. Hugo was sitting in his hotel room when he heard the rumblings that were all too familiar ... an earthquake! Anyone who had lived in Peru probably would not have been as surprised or as worried as you or I would have been, because small tremors often shake that country. But this time Hugo knew right away and he thought, This is not just a small tremor. This is a real earthquake!
The earth thundered more loudly and began to shake. Hugo was alarmed and ran quickly downstairs. The earth shook with more force, and he thought it would be best to crawl under the large statue in the plaza for protection. He ran towards the statue ... and then suddenly stopped short, not able to believe his eyes! The statue was dancing! He stared in shocked fright as the earthquake sent the statue turning around and around. In a desperate attempt to find a safe place, Hugo turned to run halfway between the hotel and the statue. He had taken only a few steps when, again, he could scarcely believe his eyes. The entire hotel collapsed, and the roof fell right to the ground! Hugo stood rooted to the spot as disaster hit almost every building in the town — they were all collapsing as he stood there watching.
Many were killed that day, but Hugo's life was spared. He realized how close he had been to death, and a voice seemed to say to him, "This is the hand of God! God is speaking to you!"
Hugo had not read the Bible and so he could not decide just what God wanted him to do. He did not know that the Lord Jesus lovingly says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Hugo only knew without a doubt that he had felt the hand of God over his life.
Hugo tried to help rescue school children who had been trapped under debris. Then he wondered if he could find any of his possessions. However, the hotel had been completely destroyed, so it was hopeless. He spent the night in the open countryside in a truck, because the after-shocks continued all during the night. There was much fear still that the few walls and buildings left standing would also collapse.
Hugo wanted to return home to Lima, but the roads had also been destroyed by the earthquake. So he began to walk with others to the nearest open road. They walked for three days through the countryside and had much difficulty finding food. At last they found a road that was open. As Hugo traveled back home, he thought again, "God is speaking to me."
Not long after this, Hugo was invited to a little gospel meeting. He listened as the preacher told of God's wonderful love in sending His only Son, the Lord Jesus, to die for sinners. He heard that his sins had taken him far away from God, but that the Lord Jesus had shed His precious blood to wash those sins away. He heard the simple message that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).
After the gospel meeting one of the Christians said to Hugo, "God is speaking to you!"
"Yes!" agreed Hugo. But he surely must have wondered how this man could have known that God was speaking to him. Hugo had not understood all the message, but that very evening he knelt down and simply called upon the Lord Jesus to save him. His sins were washed away in the precious blood of Christ and now he understood what God had been saying to him. He began to read his Bible and learned more fully about the wonderful salvation that God had given him. He now tells others of His wonderful Saviour.
God had spoken very loudly to Hugo through the earthquake, but He has also spoken to you. Perhaps it has been through your parents or through your Sunday school teacher or even an illness. Maybe He is speaking to you right now, through this [story]. God wants you to listen, because He loves you and wants to warn you that those who reject the Lord Jesus and His love will be in hell forever. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
The Bible says, "For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth [notices] it not" (Job 33:14). It takes an earthquake to make some people listen. Have you listened to God's Word?
Copied with permission for WholesomeWords.org from Messages of God's Love published by Bible Truth Publishers.
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