Near the end of August, 1883, a humble working woman of Panama, Ceylon, carrying a sheaf of paddy from rice fields, was “swept away from the harbor bay by an immense influx of water.” This poor, anonymous woman was killed by a long wave produced by the unparalleled explosion of Mount Krakatoa, a volcanic island almost 2,000 miles away. Though the natural disaster claimed (mostly by tsunami) nearly 40,000 lives almost all within the Sundra Strait between Java and Sumatra in what is now part of Indonesia, look at how far its effects were felt (Winchester 276).
Do you sometimes wrestle with a sense that you are not making any difference in this world? Day after day, you go through the motions of life repeating a seemingly monotonous routine. Have you considered the ripple effects of your life? It’s not just cataclysmic explosions that effect others. We all emit long waves by words and actions which reach others. They cascade over and through our homes. They wash over coworkers and schoolmates. They inundate neighbors and friends, even often strangers. A smile, kind word, Christian example, prayer, text, phone call, visit, encouragement, demonstration of moral courage, courtesy, charity, or hug may produce a manifold result. Aim high and seek to do great things to the glory of God, but consider that your farthest-reaching legacy might be otherwise obscure and almost entirely anonymous except for its recipient. That life might be eternally impacted. The ripple effects are endless.
Illustration from Krakatoa
Story via Winchester, Simon. Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883 (New York: HarperCollins, 2003).