Connections 08.14.2022: The Shaking and Unshakable

Hebrews 12:18-29

Six years ago, I wrote about this text for the Baptist Women in Ministry blog. We were in an election year, our national life seemed more fraught than ever before, and it felt appropriate to reflect on our human-made structures being shaken by God. It was challenging and encouraging at the same time. But whatever happened in 2016, I probably thought that six years later we might not need so badly to be challenged and encouraged by the promise that God will one day shake away all that is not holy.

No one has ever accused me of being a “glass half full” person, but even I look back and wonder how I could have been so optimistic.

Six years later, we have been challenged in ways we could not have imagined. Some challenges we have met with resolve, others we have failed badly, and more are still coming. We still need courage to face them. And we still need the encouragement of the coming day when God will shake us loose of all the things that we clutch onto in hopes that they will save us.

Today, though, I wonder how we know the difference between God’s divine shaking-things-up and what has become an everyday experience of feeling “shook.” Today I wish for something firm to stand on when so much feels unstable and unsteady. Today I want to know how to tell God’s earth-shaking voice from the voices of those who hope to rattle us all by thundering over airwaves, on podcasts, and behind pulpits.

“I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven,” says the Lord (Heb 12:26), but not all shaking comes from God, and God’s voice does not leave us shaking. God’s voice does not leave us shaking with fear, shaking with cold or hunger or anxiety or dread, shaking because we have nothing solid to hold on to. God’s voice does not leave us shaking with anger, ready to fight one another to gain false security or avoid fictional scarcity. It is a challenge—and an encouragement—to remember that if the thundering voices that surround us shake us to our core with fear, dread, or anger, they are not the voice of God (even if they think they are).

When the voice of God thunders, God shakes away “created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (12:27). We may feel the tremors, and we may have to let go of the created things we thought could steady us. But what cannot be shaken may remain: our faith in God’s steadfast love, our hope in the promise of God’s unshakable kingdom, and even—if we can not let ourselves be shaken apart—our love for one another.


  • How have you experienced feeling unsteady or shaken by the events of recent years? How has your life changed in ways that have left you feeling wobbly? Where do you see unsteadiness in your community, in current events, in the world? What “created things” might God be shaking away? Where is God providing stability?
  • How do you tell the difference between people who claim to “thunder” on God’s behalf and the actual voice of God? How do you discern where God is actually speaking?
  • When have you experienced God “shaking things up” in your own life? What did you have to let go of? What “unshakable” things did you discover?
  • Are you in the midst of being “shaken up” by God right now? How can your faith community support you?

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is the lead editor of Connections. She is a graduate of Samford University and Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and as a military spouse has had nine (at last count) different hometowns in the past 20 years. She and her husband Scott and sons Sam and Levi live in the Washington D.C. area. In recent years, Nikki has written Smyth & Helwys curricula as well as devotionals for and Baptist Women in Ministry. She weaves clergy stoles, knits almost anything, and dreams of making her dreadful novel drafts into readable books. She blogs about faith and making things at


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