10 March, 2014

Three years later

Tomorrow at about this time we will remember the big earthquake that hit Japan three years ago. Of course we've not forgotten, but somehow the anniversary seems big. I can't believe it is only three years, it seems longer.

Last week a missionary from the stricken area mentioned that this will be a dark time. If you think about it, that makes sense. About 18,000 people disappeared from there forever. They left behind many more who still mourn their rapid departure.

Empty shelves in one of our local shops in the
aftermath of the earthquake three years ago.
Those of us who experienced the earthquake and the shocking aftermath of that (yes, even those like us who didn't experience any damage or loss of life), find our thoughts easily switch back to those days, weeks, and months. A few weeks ago when transport was disrupted by two big snow storms meant that items were missing off shelves in the shops for a couple of days. Our minds quickly zoomed back to the time after the earthquake when we wondered when we'd next be able to buy toilet paper or yoghurt. A mild form of post-traumantic disorder, I suppose.

What's still shocking is that so many people are still living disrupted lives. Many who moved into temporary housing in the months after the disaster are still living there. The abandoned house-foundations are still bare in most places. Communities that once existed, exist no longer and seem no closer to being rebuilt. The statistics on the mental state of those who survived is almost as horrific as the disaster itself.

And, of course, the area around the Fukushima nuclear power plant is still abandoned. At the time, the nuclear issue divided the nation, the world even. That issue still divides people from one another, it divides families. For those living in the Fukushima prefecture (state) it is a controversial topic that they tend not to talk about.

So, tomorrow we remember. 
We remember those lost. 
We remember that we live in a fragile country. 
And we remember we're not in control.

In a nation of less than 1% Christians, not many will remember this Bible passage that became precious during those dark days.

Psalm 26:1-3 NIV UK
God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
Though we're not in control, it is possible to know the One who is. How we long for Japanese people to know this!

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