A Year After The Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear Disaster!
Video: Gospel testimony: Masato Kotani is grateful for what God has done in his life.
This last Sunday, March 11, 2012, brought afresh painful and horrendous memories. It marked a year after the 9.0 magnitude quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Northern Japan. I’d come back from Church, speaking on ‘suffering and the sovereignty of God.’ My wife and I paused; and prayed in our room as the clock struck 2: 46 (the moment the 9.0 quake struck last year). How can we ever forget that fateful day on March 11, 2011! The images of the destruction will be etched forever in our minds.
The farmer who hanged himself, distressed about a cabbage harvest ruined by radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant; the overworked government worker near the complex who took his life; the father who killed himself after a fruitless search for his child after the tsunami– all these are but reminders of the ongoing suicide (30, 000 per year) in post-modern Japan. Nearly 100 people a day commit suicide; one every 15 minutes. The most common hour of death is 5: 00 am for men; and noon for women, after their families have left for work or school. The suicide rate in Japan is tragically alarming. Suicide is now the leading cause of death among men aged 20-44 and women aged 15-34.
Imagine the soldiers and police officers who had spent weeks on the grim search for bodies, as well as nuclear plant employees working overtime to deal with the crippled reactor! They’re ordinary men and women like us with families, all vulnerable to the effects of the disaster. As the nation rebuilds from the 3/11 major catastrophe, public health officials are concerned that a lingering sense of hopelessness and desperation among those affected might lead to a surge in suicides. In a nation that’s already coping with one of the developed world’s highest rates of suicide deaths, there is a high probability that post-disaster stress could eventually lead to a higher rate. The nation experienced a rise in suicides after the 1995 Kobe earthquake that killed more than 6,400 people. Those who chose to die included the city’s deputy major, who doused himself with kerosene on the first anniversary of the disaster. As Japan rebuilds, there is a fundamental question that will arise in the hearts of people who have lost homes, family and friends: “What do I have to live for?”
Just this week, a series of earthquakes rattled Tokyo and northeast Japan on Wednesday (14th March) evening but caused no apparent damage or injury in the same region hit by last year’s devastating tsunami. An aftershock of 5.8 magnitude was felt where we live in Kawasaki City.
But the hope that Christians bring to the suffering world is not empathy of doubt and uncertainty of future. Japan is being rebuilt by the power of the Cross. There is an ongoing relief work and support by Christians from all over the world. And it would be very unkind and unloving if we try to liberate people from their present temporal sufferings and not offer them the whole Gospel to alleviate their eternal sufferings. The whole Gospel needs to be proclaimed throughout the whole of Japan. The whole Gospel must be administered to the whole person. Yes we must, with utmost care, do all we can to care for their present temporal sufferings but especially their future eternal sufferings. There is hope for Japan not only today- here in this life– but also tomorrow and in the next. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1: 16). But it is also the power of God for bringing comfort and aid to the Japanese. And it is the power of God for faithful endurance in our present crisis. Please pray for Japan.
VIDEO: Pastor Akira Mori of Global Mission Chapel asks God for the hills near Usuiso Beach, devastated by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.
Pray that God would exalt His name all over Japan.
Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6: 9).
Pray that God would extend His kingdom in Tohoku area (Northern Japan).
“Your kingdom come, you will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 10).
Pray that the Gospel would speed ahead and be honored among this 2nd largest unreached people group.
“Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored,as happened among you” (2 Thessalonians 3: 1).
Recommended Gospel-centered post in relation to Japan earthquake and tsunami.
No Further Than Our Fathers. By Jared Wilson.
Is God calling you to missions in Japan? Get acquainted with the FAQs of the mission field. Read: Why Japan?