Saturday, 19 March 2011

On Earthquakes, Tsunamis and other such disasters

Just over a week ago I woke up to news reports that Japan had suffered an earthquake. Not so good, but it is not unsurprising considering that it's on the Pacific Ring of Fire and all. It was only as I sat eating my breakfast (after dropping the eldest one at school) that I heard about the magnitude of the quake and the resulting Tsunami. Definitely not good! I gobbled down the remainder of my breakfast and herded the younger one to the living room to switch on the telly. Despite having planned lots of things to do that day I sat absorbed in events on the far side of the world with a somewhat morbid fascination. As more and more images, videos and interviews were shown my morbid fascination lessened and my prayer burden increased. To the extent that at 3pm when I had to set off to the bus stop to pick up the eldest one I could barely move with the weight of it all on my shoulders. I didn't feel responsible. How could one feel responsible for a natural disaster? But I felt strongly the call to pray. I felt like crying for all those poor people who were having to live through it all, but most of all I felt the need to pray. For the survivors, for the dead, for the missing, for families torn apart, for the grief, for those in fear, for those who would lose hope. I never really knew what the Bible meant when it said 'Pray without ceasing'.... but on that day I came closer to understanding because, without realising it, I found myself praying. Not on my knees. Not with my hands clasped before my like a 'good little girl'. Not repeating rote responses to ritual prayers. Not even the loud, hands-in-the-air prayers of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. But the quiet weeping prayers of a burdened soul. I cried for those people that I can never reach or see, simply because I knew that God was crying for them too.

The news reports started showing footage taken from YouTube and a few days later I found myself on that site looking at that huge wall of water throwing cars about and sweeping houses off their foundations. I kept thinking "that car has it's rear windscreen wiper on! Is there someone in there? Are they screaming in fear?". I had to stop watching. I read comments instead. On several of them I saw people mentioning Matthew 24. I looked it up and found this:

Matthew 24 v 6 .... And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Wars and rumours of wars. How many are being fought all over the world right now? Just off the top of my head I can count, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen.... granted some of these are 'rumours'. Trouble in the making, not yet fully formed. And yet today French fighter jets are flying over Libya.... just in case. While British and American forces muster to support them.... just in case. Are we coming to the 'beginning of the birth pains'? I feel we are. It is a sobering thought.

As if to confirm my feelings I found this on YouTube...

And yet, we are told not to be alarmed, for these things must happen but it is not yet the end. I will admit I have been struggling with that bit this week. Until I realised that the answer to my fears was to 'pray without ceasing'.

There is absolutely NOTHING that I can do to solve the world's problems, calm unrest, keep the peace, rebuild lives, restore health and happiness to those who are dispossessed. However, I CAN pray. Because if I pray then God can move in Power to bring about His plan for this world. It is scary to be living in these uncertain times, but the Bible tells me that God is my refuge, my shelter and my rock. He is my ever-present help in times of trouble.

So I will continue to pray, and I hope that some of you out there will join me in praying "Your Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven", because that is the only way that we will keep our sanity and find peace in our time.


1 comment:

  1. So agree Anthea have friends who are missionaries over there so hearing regularly from them but praying most of all for the poor Japanese people thanks for sharing was blessed to read it,
    Shaz in Oz.xx


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