I have been stunned by the earthquake and the resulting tsunami in Japan these last few days. I have made attempts to write a new post or to return to my next Psalm but I have had difficulty with focusing on writing because the surreal scenes of the tragedy keep creeping into my mind. Every time I look at the news, there is some new crisis that is looming over the people of Japan and my heart breaks.
There are no words that I can say that will change anything that has happened or that will ease the pain our Japanese brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, mothers and fathers are going through. I am at a loss … there is nothing I can do. There is no way for me to comfort them … to minister to them directly. I can’t stop the earthquakes. I can’t hold back a wall of water that is thirteen feet or more high and rushing at incredible speed. I am only human.
My heart breaks for other reasons, too. I am certain that somewhere, someone or some group is calling this the work of God as punishment for the sins of Japan. Our God does not work like this.** Our God is a good God and loving.�Here are three verses that speak of some of God’s characteristics:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no man: (James 1:13)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. (James 1:17)
… for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. (1 Corinthians 14:33a)
Nor will I credit the devil with this devastation. Too many people want to give Satan all sorts of credit for the calamities that fall on them and others – he just hasn’t got the power.
Plain and simple: this is a natural catastrophe. It is what happens in the life of the earth.
I can only pray for the people of Japan. As we all should be doing.
Pray. Pray for the Christians and for the Buddhists, the Zen Buddhists, Taoists, and those who follow Confucius and Shinto. Pray for those who have no religion. Ask God to have mercy. Ask that He will comfort the survivors and protect them. Pray for an end to the earthquakes and the aftershocks and the temblors … for the neutralization of leaked radiation and that the nuclear power plants would go dormant and pose no risk of contamination or meltdown. Pray that the scientists and the workers are able to find ways to control the reactors. And as you pray, hold nothing but love for the people, because it is love that moves God.
Does this sound silly in the light of such devastation and havoc? It will if you are not a believer. Don’t sell God short. God is God, after all; He is always present, everywhere and unbound by our puny laws of science. Jesus calmed the storm when, to His disciples, all seemed lost:
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. And he awoke, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And being afraid they marvelled, saying one to another, Who then is this, that he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him? (Luke 8:23-25)
The power of our Lord is great and can deal with anything – even the power of the atom. Believe it.
** I know, I know. What about the flood? Yes, God did cause a flood to cover the earth because of the wickedness of man, but after that flood He made a covenant between He and His creation that He would never do that again, (Genesis 9:8-17). There are plenty of places in the Old Testament that illustrate God’s wrath as punishment, but today, we all live under the New Covenant that was ushered in with the birth of Jesus. The people of the earth are given the option of following Jesus or not. The Word is spread by means of persuasion and not force of the sword or wrathful storms sent by our Creator. It is the responsibility of the follower of Christ to bring people into the Kingdom – not storms sent by God.