Monday, March 14, 2011

Praying for Present and Eternal Comfort for Japan


All of us watched in horror as scenes of tragedy in Japan unfolded this past week. Technology may bring suffering into our living rooms but it does little to help us grapple with the reality of people dying and a nation suffering. Most of us with a sense of helplessness. In fact, our limited capacity to help against the backdrop of such immense suffering can lead us beyond helplessness to hopelessness.

With that in mind, here are a few thoughts that I've found helpful -

Suffering is inevitable... but it is not arbitrary or purposeless. We can't always understand it but God is neither absent in suffering nor unaffected by it. Instead, God is at work to draw sufferers to Himself and to bring comfort to those who call on Him.

" upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and your will glorify me" (Psalm 50:15)

Suffering is great... but our compassion is meaningful. Through the common grace of technology, God grants us the privilege to help those who are suffering across the world. Though our efforts may seem small, yet by extending practical help to those who cannot help themselves, we become channels of God's compassion.

Suffering calls us to prayer. We can do nothing greater than to pray for the people of Japan. We can bring their needs before the throne of God. We can pray for present comfort for all who are suffering - for mothers who mourn for lost children, for children orphaned by this tragedy, for those maimed and injured, for the hundreds of thousands who have lost homes.

We can also pray for the eternal comfort for those in Japan who do not know Jesus Christ. C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world". Oh, that this tragedy would awaken in them a longing for the eternal God. Here is a prayer for Japan from the Desiring God blog that could serve you in your prayers for this nation -

Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.

O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.

Read the rest of the prayer here

1 comment:

Maalie said...

Yes, "in a twinkling of an eye" rings true for me; I was booked to stay a week in Japan with my nephew and we had planned to go birdwatching up the coast there. If the earthquake had waited just a few weeks, it could have been us.
But it makes me very angry that people are prepared to pray to an omniscient god who new it was happening (and how many innocents he would snuff out), also omnipotent but who did nothing to stop it. Your god, if existing, is evidently malicious and spiteful and I want absolutely nothing to do with it.
Your post would be a joke if the situation wasn't so tragic.