When I first heard of the earthquake and subsequent tsunamis that hit Japan, I prayed, but I could hardly watch any footage. It was just too much, too intense. And, I thought, if it is too intense to watch, how must it be to live through it. I just cannot imagine.

I have watched since then. It’s just so hard to fathom — it almost looks like CGI of some cataclysmic movie.

The two missionary families I know there were out of the country when it happened and are checking in as frequently as possible with those they are able to reach there. Besides the destruction, which is massive, now there are problems even in areas further away with lack of water, gasoline, dwindling food supplies at stores, etc., because supplies can’t get through.

My friend Kim, one of the missionaries to Japan on furlough in the States now, left a link to a blogger she reads who lives in the area and posts regular updates at Living and Learning.

A friend on Facebook shared this video today in reference to some personal suffering, but I thought of it in context of the suffering of the people of Japan. When things like this happen, sometimes people get bitter against God, wondering why it happened. I pray that instead, people would turn to Him in their great need.

As a footnote, Joni speaks of not wanting the intellectual reasons for suffering when in the thick of it. I don’t think she means she doesn’t want them ever. I know from her other writings that she has thought through and wrestled with some of those things. Personally I find great assurance in reading over them from time to time. But I do understand what she means that sometimes when suffering you just want the comfort of His presence rather than the reasons why.

8 thoughts on “Japan

  1. It has been so horrible to watch, hasn’t it? I just can’t imagine living through it.

    Our son’s girlfriend’s parents are missionaries in Japan. They live in Kobe, but when the quake hit, they were visiting their former ministry in the city of Aomori, which is to the northwest of the tsunami and epicenter of the quake. They called their daughters in the US as soon as they could after the quake and tsunami, but then the girls couldn’t get in touch with them for the next 24 hours. It was agony for them to hear the news from over there and not know if their parents were still safe. Their parents were finally able to get a land line to phone the girls, and they are safe, but stranded in Aomori with no way to get home to Kobe at this time. We know two other missionary families in Japan, and they are all far enough away from the tsunami that they just felt the quake and had no damage.

  2. I know exactly what you mean about thinking this destruction has to be CGI — otherwise the pain is just too great to bear, and that is as an observer. I don’t even have words to pray for the people who lived through this devastation — thankfully the Holy Spirit does and can translate my pain into prayer.

  3. Thank you for posting this, Barbara. We’ve been watching the footage with horror since the opening salvo–the earthquake. Now the Japanese have two more crises to deal with including the tsunami and the radiation risks. This kind of devastation is unimaginable in a developed (and wealthy) nation. And yet, it *has* happened. …Life is SO fragile!

    Living on the west coast, we feel great a affinity Japan. We eat sushi, sing karaoke, and fold origami. My mother hosted Japanese students for several years when I was younger, and we ourselves hosted Japanese students in our home for four years. We know a great deal about the culture, even though we have never visited. As I watch the faces on the news, I feel as if the people are personal friends.

    Japan is an ordered, communal, and resilient society… and they will survive this crisis. They are humbly asking for help, and I just read that 100 countries are now on the ground offering aid. This critical window of opportunity for missionaries. My prayer is that once their basic needs are met, many Japanese will respond to the Gospel message.

    Blessings, e-Mom

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