STORIES ~ Japan
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
~ Psalm 46:1 NIV
Since the great catastrophe on March 11, 2011, Psalm 46 is the most widely read Bible passage by Japanese Christians. Few experience losing everything in their lives, but surely all have lost something of monumental importance, such as a loved one, health, wealth, or their job. When we lose even one of these, our lives drastically change. Can you imagine losing each and every one of them in a single day?
It is when the foundation of our very existence, the ground upon which we stand, is violently shaken that we begin to consider the true meaning of life. For what purpose did I put such a great deal of effort into all my work? Why am I even alive?
A pastor in Fukushima said the bar with which we measure happiness was lowered since this tsunami. "Because we're so thankful to still be alive, we feel happiness if we have even just one piece of bread we can share together!" As they were being evacuated from the hazardously high radioactive area, some people who had attended his church asked to be baptized. They said they were simply shocked to the very core by God's existence and overwhelming power. So as that church held a memorial service for many of their members who perished in the disaster, during that same service three new believers were also baptized.
When we are frightened to death by the circumstances around us, on what do we focus? What do we see? Do we see the things we lost or were destroyed? Or can we see looming out of the debris and rubble God's powerful and mighty hand and His sustaining power? Can we find His help in our time of need?
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
~ Psalm 46:10 NIV