Watching the news of the devastation hurricane Sandy caused on the east coast is heartbreaking. I can’t imagine living through a natural disaster of that magnitude. It makes me thankful I live in the Pacific Northwest where the only natural disaster we worry about that could cause anywhere near as much damage as Sandy has is a volcano erupting, and those don’t happen very often.
As I read the next Psalm at the beginning of my prayer time this morning, I was amazed at how perfect this Psalm is as a prayer for those on the east coast facing the massive clean-up effort. It is a reminder that although the sea rose up and caused massive damage, God still reigns and will provide the strength needed to continue on. May the Lord be strength and comfort for those in need.
1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.
5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.
This Psalm looks to the Lord for strength in times of disaster and trouble, so I thought it was appropriate to post today in light of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I have only posted part of the Psalm, but you can click here to read the whole Psalm at Biblegateway.com.
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the LORD. He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1 I love you, LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
I received an email today from my friend who has family in Japan. He provided an update on the situation there from his mom’s perspective. I was so touched by the story of him mom and dad’s ministry there, which continues through him mom even during these trying times, that I asked if I could share with all of you. He said I could, so here is his email:
We appreciated all of your concerns and prayers about my mother in Japan. The telephone lines were dead for almost 12 hours before they were restored and I was able to talk to my mom in Fukushima, 30 miles south of Sendai, the epicenter. All the public transportation systems (railroads & highways) were closed between Tokyo and the northern Japan. The only means of communication still available are wireless cell network or internet network which seems to find its way to any destinations. My mom is safe and it must be God’s provision, since many buildings around her were destroyed or severely damaged. She sounded very good and, in fact, she was cooking when we finally connected. As she always has been doing, she was getting ready to deliver meals to many of the shut-ins in the village (mostly female living alone) and a chit chat, making sure they are cared for. This is her ministry and she seemed busier now that there are more in need for food and someone to talk to.
I asked her if she ever feels lonely, living by herself. “Why would I feel lonesome?” “I’m not alone, because Jesus is with me.” “As a matter of fact, He keeps me busy with opportunities to minister to these people who often questions my “hidden agenda.” She said she would tell them “no agenda,” just had extra food she cooked and wanted to share them with you. This is how I remember her during my childhood and she hasn’t changed. She is keeping it alive my father’s quiet ministry to those who persecuted against us because of our religion. Love has finally prevailed and these faithless villagers have come to accept my dad and mom as a caring couple in spite of what they have done. My dad passed away 12 years ago but the family tradition continues. Her non-threatening approach to showing her love by sharing meals she cooked seems to have won their heart even though they have not accepted Christ as their savior.
I wanted to share this with you during this Lent season. I thought perhaps it is appropriate to share her story with those who could appreciate how Christ’s love could move mountains especially in the midst of such tragedy like what they just experienced yesterday. Nothing happens for no reason. There is a purpose for our life, gifts and resources. God wants us to use them appropriately for the right purpose, His kingdom.
Please keep my mom in your prayers as she is not quite out of the woods yet. Two nuclear power plants are in Fukushima and they are only 25 miles away and one of them has presented a potential risk with the reactor. I pray that God will continue to keep her in his protection as she continues to serve others in need in the village.
Blessings to you and your family, Y and G