Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Greetings from Rome

March 16. That was the day that we “should have” left for Tokyo, Japan. Obviously, we didn’t, and you will know why if you haven’t been living in a cave this past month.

In the days that followed some of our conversations resembled the kind of selfish and insensitive antics from Seinfeld. It’s a trip we had been planning for over a year and while we have the deepest sympathy for the entire nation of Japan, the situation for us still felt lousy.

We were offered a voucher to fly somewhere else and we picked Rome. The hardest part of this vacation is enjoying it knowing an entire nation is in pain.

It’s really times and acts such as this that make you say, why?

If there’s a God, then why did this happen? That is a question millions in Japan are asking, I’m sure. Surely God could have stopped it—so why didn’t he? For the pure pleasure in seeing pain and suffering?

I personally believe that God stopped us from going to Tokyo through a series of stumbling blocks that happened even before the earthquake happened—way too many to list here. I’ve heard other people tell of similar stories. You could say God willed people away from the country—or you could call it coincidence.

That’s nice for us, but what of the thousands not so lucky? Those dead or missing. God couldn’t have willed them from danger?

For me personally, one of the most powerful stories in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10—the thorn in Paul’s flesh. Paul doesn’t say why (or what) pain was given to him—but grace, he says, was sufficient because of it. In other words, pain brought him closer to God—making him remember why he needed God’s presence.

What happened (and is happening) in Japan is horrible—cruel—and completely unfair. But people cling to families in times like this—it makes you appreciate your time more—it makes you stop—love—rejoice.

It’s in tragedy that you really can see the face of God. I can’t say why it happened, but I can say this is the time that you can really feel that God is with us.

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