Last night and this morning I bawled my eyes out while reading Mary Beth Chapman's book, "Choosing to See" (she's Steven Curtis Chapman's wife). The heart wrenching bit is about her youngest daughter who was killed in an automobile accident at five years of age. She ran in front of the 4WD her big brother was driving up the driveway. It is a mother's worst nightmare. And of course they struggled with guilt. But as I look at it from a distance, there is only so much we can do to protect our kids, or indeed ourselves, from harm.
Last week we had two significant earthquakes, one on Wednesday evening and the second woke us during the early hours of Friday. I felt unusually tired later that day and I think it was because the earthquakes triggered fear in me and stopped be going back to sleep straight away. David was soon leaving the country and my female brain went into hyperdrive, What if "the big one" they're talking about happens while David is out of the country. How will I cope? Of course when we talked about it later in daylight, David reminded me that I have a great support system here, not to mention that the evacuation centre for us is CAJ!
Here's a statistic that helps you see how shaken we've been in the last twelve months:
Since the March 11 disaster, earthquakes of magnitude 3 to 6 occurred an average of 1.48 times a day in the metropolitan area. This was about five times the pre-disaster average. The Australian.And then I read this blog post by colleagues who are moving to Tokyo from Sapporo later this year to take up the national leadership of OMF Japan. They note that one of the first thing people say to them about this impending move regards Tokyo's increased chances of a BIG earthquake in the next couple of years. CNN wrote this in January:
The University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute predicts there is a 70% probability that the capital's metropolitan area will experience a magnitude 7 quake within four years and a 98% probability within the next 30 years.The Australian had a more balanced report here, if you're interested.
But oh, it is easy to be anxious. And the media loves to prey on your anxiety.
However I've been reading through the book of Psalms recently and one thing that's struck me is the frequent mention of safety.
Here are just a couple:
Psalm 4:8 "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety." (NIV)
Japan is an unusually safe place, if you don't count earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunami. Last week I rode my bike to the dentist at night-time. There isn't a big concern about catching a train after dark. The boys walk to and from school by themselves without much concern. On Saturday, when the boys got too much, I sent them out the front of the house to wait for our friend who was picking us up to go to her house. There is almost no room out the front of our house so for about 20 minutes they were on the road. Never in an Australian city would I do that!5 LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (NIV) (I added the italics.)
But for all the safe-ness of this country, we do ourselves no favour by trusting in good architecture, careful drivers, or tsunami warnings. There is only one place that is truly safe: trusting in Jesus.
Not to say that with Jesus as our friend and Lord, our lives will be easy, or safe, or lacking in grief (just ask Mary Beth). But we have long-term security in knowing that even if our lives are shorter, or more painful, or more dangerous than we'd like; when the "worst" happens and we leave this earth, we've got heaven to look forward to.
Preaching to the choir here: me! How often I lose sight of my eternal hope!