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Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan

In a video tonight, I watched cars and boats and burning homes bobbing along a street like apples in a bucket, and a thought exploded in my mind: the ocean does not belong on the streets of Japan.
“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who enclosed the sea with doors when, bursting forth, it went out from the womb; when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and I placed boundaries on it and set a bolt and doors, and I said, 'Thus far you shall come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves stop'? (Job 38:1-11).”

The ocean does not belong on the streets of Japan. The streets should not be flowing with domestic flotsam and jetsam. The sky should not be clouded with nuclear haze. The people should not be standing on hills and rooftops, clinging. Clinging to fear. Clinging to doubt. Clinging to life—with no idea of what tomorrow will bring.
How can these things be? How can there be such pain, such heartache, such terror?

“God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:31, emphasis added).

How can there be an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in a place that God declared to be very good?
Because sin is here. When sin entered the world (Genesis 3:6-7), it brought pain and heartache and terror along.  And the earth still groans under its weight.
“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-22).

The world is groaning under the corrupting nature of sin, and because of this we have weeds in our gardens, sweat on our brows, tears in our eyes, cancer in our bodies, blood on our hands, wars in our countries, and oceans in our streets. And even though all of this is true, it does not lessen the pain of one woman standing on a hill, watching the only home she has ever known drift away with the tide. It does not calm the fear of a generation being bombarded with invisible rays of death. It does not silence the cry of a nation enveloped in grief.
But even as Jesus Christ was being arrested one dark night in a garden, He knew there would be a place of refuge on a hill—a place to flee raging waters.
Even as He was being beaten beyond recognition by Roman soldiers, the Creator of the universe was aware of the loss that woman would suffer.
Even as our Lord was buckling under the weight of the piece of timber that would carry Him to His death, He was mindful of the horrors of radiation.
Even as He silently suffered the sins of the world, He was bearing our grief, conquering death, making a way for life, for whosoever would come to Him.
God has not forgotten the people of Japan, any more than He has forgotten the rest of us. He has made a way for hope in the midst of despair, peace in the face of chaos, assurance when the world is shaken to its core. We must repent of our sins, embrace the forgiveness God gives us, and rest in an iron-clad eternity—a bold contrast to this fragile life we live on planet earth.
"For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day" (John 6:40).

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

In the meantime, while we are able, we need to pray for the people of Japan. Pray that they will be comforted and protected and cared for.

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