Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mar. 11, 2012

3/11 is one of those dates that is permanently ingrained in my memory, perhaps even more firmly than 9/11. Of course, I'll never forget where I was or how I felt when I saw the footage of the plane hitting the second World Trade Center, but all of that was happening so far away that it seemed surreal.
I FELT 3/11, hid under my desk while my classroom tossed as it never had before. I saw the bewilderment, fear and tears as our entire school community waited outside in the cold, unable to connect to wi-fi or 3G for an agonizing half hour, not knowing what had happened, who was safe and who wasn't. I saw the live footage of floodwaters sweeping over familiar streets and villages a mere 4 hours to the North. I stayed at school till past midnight that night, waiting with students whose parents were stranded downtown by inactive train-lines and horrendous traffic. So many epic and unbelievable stories from that day, and the days that followed, but I could believe them because I was there. I will never forget 3/11.
I can no more explain the earthquake and all of the suffering and loss than anyone else can. However, this I know and believe:
God loves Japan. In the midst of the destruction, there have been countless stories of hope. Families reunited after believing each other to be dead, friends finding each other having feared the worst, people risking life and limb to find and save whoever they could.
God loves Japan. In the weeks following, the rest of the world rallied with financial aid. Volunteers poured in to begin to help with the clean-up. "Pray for Japan" became a global mandate.
God loves Japan. Relief centers, churches and missionaries have traveled North in droves, not to pass out Bibles and preach on street corners, but to help rebuild, to feed the hungry, to give shelter to the homeless--to simply show love to the hurting people of Northern Japan.
God loves Japan. Though there is still plenty of evidence of the tsunami's destructive swath, there's also evidence of healing--cleaning, organizing, fixing, restoring. Shops, restaurants, businesses, and schools are opening their doors again. Homes are being repaired and lived in again. Trees are being replanted, lives rebuilt. The destruction is the shape of the past; hope is the shape of the future.
God loves Japan.
The world is a broken place where people hurt each other and even the earth itself shakes and floods. Yet through all of this, God has a plan to heal, to renew. What a comfort this is, not only to believe, but to see signs of this healing all around me, to feel this healing each and every day. Japan is a loved country, not only by the people who live here, and people around the world, but by the same God who created the entire universe, who formed and placed Japan. May all who live here feel this love and turn to the God who loves them.

Thank you, LORD!


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