Japan Relief

All the world has been stunned by the amazing story still unfolding in Japan.  Rocked by a 8.9 point earthquake, and a tsunami wave estimated to be 30 ft high has brought amazing devastation in it’s wake.I know that I sat in stunned silence to watch some of the video taken of the advancing and catastrophic tsunami wave rolling in and moving everything in its wake. I listened in amazement to the reports of a man found floating 10 miles into the Ocean on the roof of his house.

According to news reports, the death toll is expected to rise to 10,000 people and thousands more are missing or injured. It also has caused tens of billions of dollars in property and economic losses.

It is one of those events, and there are many in our lives, that cause us to ask one of the two most asked questions of Scripture – WHY?  The second question is just like it – How Long?

Today I stumbled on, (Lets be honest – it was another God moment) Psalm 124;

1 If the LORD had not been on our side– let Israel say–
2 if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us,
3 when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive;
4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:1-8 (NIV) japan-earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-unforgettable-pictures-wave_33291_600x450

This is one of the Psalms identified as a psalm of ascent, a song of the pilgrims on their journey to the Temple in Jerusalem.  A Psalm that celebrates the simple truth “God is for us!” As I read through the psalm I was struck by verses 4 & 5, “the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, the raging waters would have swept us away.” and my mind immediately went to images I had seen of the tsunami wave. Just as fast as that image came into my mind, the question formed in my mind, “Lord they were swept away, they were engulfed – where was their rescue?”  As I sat and pondered the question I heard a second voice repeat to me the final verse of that psalm. “Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

The Lord the Maker of heaven and earth – has provided rescue – he has provided deliverance and life – he has provided Jesus.  In this season of Lent as we are called to “remember the story” we can find hope in the life, death and resurrection of Christ for us.  On the cross of Calvary, we learn from Scripture, all the sin of the world was placed on his back, all the agony, all of the punishment for our sin, and all of the terror of those who found no way out of the tsunami wave.  In those hours of the Cross Christ gasped for breath, he ached with pain, he was crushed by sorrow, he as abandoned by his father.

The events of that Good Friday leave us in stunned silence it captures our wonder and amazement.  Then the most powerful single event of all History comes to pass.  Jesus, “stricken, smitten, afflicted, and dead” rises in triumph from the Grave.  He declares to all those of   us drowning in a sea of sin, to those crushed by a creation crying out for rescue, I have brought your through.  All those swept away, who by faith cling to Christ as their savior are brought to life.

If the story of this event moves us to anything – it should move us to the vital necessity to share Christ to all those around us who do not know Him.  For life can change in a flash in the twinkling of an eye.

50 I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:50-57 (NIV)

Just as quick as the water swept them away – “in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye” death will be replaced with LIFE!  We too even in these days of terror, sorrow, and confusion can sing the song of God’s people,

1 If the LORD had not been on our side– let Israel say–
2 if the LORD had not been on our side when men attacked us,
3 when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive;
4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the LORD, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird out of the fowler’s snare; the snare has been broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:1-8 (NIV)

This week as conversation around the water cooler takes a turn toward Japan, share the song of God’s people in the middle of the mess.  Our God is For us!

<>< Craig