March 14, 2011
Dear Marketplace Friend,
The headline was sourced in Canada, not in the United States – or, Japan: “No Doomsday Seen in Recent Quakes, Just ‘Bad Luck’.”
The focus of the following article was purely scientific: “Powerful killer earthquakes have rocked one corner of the globe to another in just over a year but scientists warn against looking for a Doomsday scenario in this recurring ripple of big earthshaking natural disasters. ‘There’s nothing going on out of the ordinary,’ Dr. Daniel McNamara, a research seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told Reuters.” (Reuters, March 11, 2011)
The quake that hit Japan last Friday was measured at 9.0 magnitude (upsized from the original 8.9 assessment); that’s equivalent to 25,000 nuclear bombs. Today, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said that the disaster was the worst occurrence for their nation since World War II. Current predictions assume that 10,000 lost their lives in the devastation that followed the earthquake and tsunami.
Asia’s #1 Economy has opened for business on Monday morning… with a virtual “closed until further notice” sign in the window of many offices. The full effects of this geological upheaval won’t be fully realized for months; for now, the search for survivors and the basic necessities (water, food, electricity) for millions will be the preoccupation of the leaders, both in the country and in the world community.
Haiti. Chile. New Zealand. Now, Japan. In the span of months, the challenge to terra firma (“solid ground”) has been a recurrent theme. Bullish behavior in life is founded on the confidence of “can’t lose” certainty. If markets react negatively to Steve Job’s cancer treatment; the globe will undoubtedly react to an essential world trading partner who will be consumed with survival for the near-term future. No Doomsday seen in recent quakes; just “bad luck?”
In our superstitious past, events akin to these would have been understood under the category of “acts of God.” In the legal and economic worlds, that term has taken on contract meaning, allowing non-performance without recourse when caused by circumstances beyond one’s control. But, where does this “act of God” idea come from? Is that an unenlightened way of explaining (away) one’s bad luck?
There have been times in history when enlightenment was the result of revelation, and leaders have influenced their followers to respond to disaster – or, the threat of disaster – in spiritual terms. I’m reading all of the newspapers this morning, and watching the same live coverage that you are. The intervention of assistance from outside the collapse is the immediate need, even as the concern grows regarding the radiation potential from the failing nuclear reactors. I’m with you in finding a way to help in a hands-on way (go to www.samaritan.org and help fund Samaritan’s Purse immediate aid to the Japanese victims, through churches on-the-ground in Japan).
But, what do you think about all of this… and how do you process it, through your worldview?
Disaster has been a recurrent reality through human history. Sometimes, it hits a country, and leaves some people standing. Sometimes, it strikes a person, and the culture around him never feels a thing. How do you sort it out? Has anyone thought to call for an international day of repentance and prayer?
Click here to read Psalm 37 as you ponder the realities of life. Is it just “bad luck,” or is there a divine orchestration behind it all?
The Psalm ends with assurance: “ The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.” (Psalm 37:39-40)
May God use the crisis in Japan – and, the world around them – to point the way to Him.