Sunday, March 13, 2011

When Bad Things Happen...Japan

Why do bad things happen to good people? It's an aged-old asked question.

Habakkuk asked the question to God, in relation to Judah's suffering, "How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, 'Violence!', but you do not save?" (Habakkuk 1:2)

The disciples asked Jesus about a man born blind, "Teacher, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?"

We are seeing pictures of horrible devastation in northern Japan due to one of the century's strongest earthquake and resulting tsunami. As we watch the visuals streaming over our television sets, it moves us to the depths of our souls and we also might be crying out, "Why, Lord? Why do these bad things happen?"

And the answer is not easy. In Habakkuk, the prophet really did not get an answer to his "why"? He simply got the response, "Look at the nations and watch - and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (Hab 1:5) Meaning that you and I might not even be able to handle the real answer and so it is withheld.

In regards to the man born blind, Jesus said, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life..." (John 9:3). Maybe this "bad" thing happened so that God could make his name known and glorify himself through the event.

One thing is for sure. We are all a part of a lost and fallen world where bad things happen to both the good and bad people and nations. Being involved in international relief and development, I have seen my share of bad things happening and have found no comfort in asking "why"? What I have found comfort in is asking "what", as in "what I am I going to do about this, on a personal level and a corporate level?"

Here is what I encourage you to do over the next few days as the tragedy of what has happened in Japan continues to unfold...

1. Pray. Pray for those suffering physically. There is a basic need for water, food and shelter. It is still cold season there.

2. Pray. Pray for those suffering emotionally. Many lost loved ones. Aftershocks continue and fear rules with each new tremor. Emotional shock leads to physical manifestations that can be fatal themselves. Pray for healing.

3. Pray. Pray for the responders as they go. Pray for the Japanese government and international organizations as they try and come up with some type of a unified response plan. Pray that all work together to speedily reach those in need.

4. Give. Find a good, trusted partner to give through. We have a great vehicle to give through: Baptist Global Response (BGR). Our website is: Please go there for updates and options for giving. One hundred percent of your donation with go to provide appropriate relief. If you have other channels of giving, give that way. Right now, monetary gifts that can be used locally in Japan to purchase water, food and shelter are much more effective than gifts in kind.

5. Consider going and helping. Especially if you have certain skills that are needed. Again, you need to find a trusted partner to do that through. Again, BGR would be happy to help you if God is leading you.

Why do bad things happen to good people? I'm not sure I can answer that.

What am I going to do about those bad things like what has happened in Japan? I'm afraid that I'm the only one that can answer that.

God bless...Pray for Japan!

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