It’s now over 2 months since the “East Japan Big Earthquake Disaster” as it’s called here. Its dropped off the international news, but it’s still hitting headlines here most days: latest update on the situation at the nuclear power plants, sports projects for kids in the area who’ve been orphaned…
Most shops have a collection box for relief work with the now famous slogan that can be seen everywhere, “Gambaro, Nippon!” (“Stick at it, Japan!”). The watching world has been impressed by the way the Japanese people have responded to this disaster: orderly queues outside shops and relief trucks, no rise in looting, great bravery shown by the ‘Fukushima 50’ working on the nuclear power plant to reduce radiation levels – all very commendable… mostly.
But is it showing an unhealthy pride? “We can do it because we’re Japanese.” Shouldn’t it instead be, “We can’t do it, we need Jesus”? A friend overheard some men in the public baths talking about how the earthquake and tsunami were signs that we need to get back to Nature and Japan’s Shinto roots.
There are things that you don’t hear on the news: Many are praying that this disaster will rouse people from their complacency and get them to think about what life is all about, and ultimately to turn to the Creator in faith. I haven’t counted (!) but I bet there have been more people around the world praying for Japan in recent weeks than ever before in history.
The tsunami hit the least churched area of the largest unreached people group. We can’t say for certain this is a specific judgement from God. But there are things we can say for certain:
[T]hose eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:4-5)
We can’t say that those Japanese who died in the tsunami are any worse than the rest of us, but we can say that it is a warning to the world, that we all must repent.
We also know that Jesus told us earthquakes would happen “in various places” and that they are “the beginning of birth pains” (Mark 13:8). So although the end has not yet come, we know it will be soon – birth pains means a birth is imminent! So we must be ready, not just with earthquake emergency kits by the door, but ready for Christ’s return! Then we will see such a terrifying judgement that will make this tsunami pale into insignificance.
- Please keep praying for Japan, not just for material needs in the wake of the tsunami, but more so for her spiritual needs – that people would humble themselves before the mighty Creator God who controls the earth and the waves.
- Pray that the Japanese, as well as we ourselves, would get ready for the end, when Christ will come again to judge the world