Monday, March 14, 2011

Responding to the Disaster in Japan

The news from Japan over the past four days has been so overwhelming in its intensity and horror that it is difficult for me to know how to react and pray. I am sure that is true for many others. Adrian Warnock, a fellow blogger from Great Britain, has published a characteristically helpful post on 10 Ways a Christian should respond to the earthquake in Japan:
As Japan braces itself for a possible further serious earthquake, and deals with the consequences of such massive devastation caused by the last one, not to mention the risk of a major nuclear incident, how should Christians respond? Please understand that none of this is intended to claim that we have all the answers to such a disaster. In fact, like Job’s friends’ initial response, often the best thing we can do is say absolutely nothing, and share people’s pain. 

I write this article with many unanswered questions. But, unlike those who allow suffering to drive them away from God, I am convinced that only God makes sense of suffering. For if the Japanese who died really were just the random fruit of evolution, why should it matter to us if they died? But if each of them are made in the image of their creator, and lovingly crafted together in their mother’s womb, our inherent feeling that suffering is NOT welcome in this world makes perfect sense. God loves every human being, they are precious to him.
 Adrian goes on to list the following ten points.
  1. We should not be surprised
  2. We should be humbled before the awesome power of "Nature."
  3. We should not assume the end is at hand
  4. We should not assume the end is not at hand
  5. We should not specifically blame the Japanese.
  6. We should not blame God, but we should pray.
  7. We should understand that suffering is in the world due to sin in a general sense.
  8. We must not assume the devil "won" this time.
  9. We should look forward to the day when there will be no more pain.
  10. We should share the glorious gospel of Jesus that brings us hope and work to relieve suffering.
 Please go to the link to read his entire piece.  May God have mercy on the people of Japan, and may his mercy extend to us all.