Devastation rips everyone apart. We are so interconnected as human beings, and technology has made information sharing between us that much faster, that events like this rock our worlds. As I write, The Red Cross is mobilizing disaster relief, NGO's are working frantically to map out intelligent courses of action, governments are rallying to determine the next steps, and people everywhere are praying for the people of Japan and southeast Asia.
After an 8.9 magnitude earthquake erupted northeast of Tokyo, the waters heaved and the waves rose. Weather warnings were issues for places as far as California, Oregon, Washington and British Colombia.
I've mentioned before that natural disasters are breeding grounds for traffickers. The chaos breeds ripe conditions for people to disappear and never be seen again. This is especially true of children. Haiti's earthquake of last year testified to this scary reality.
Yet I am moved not so much today to speak of this reality, as another reality that has disturbed me greatly. I cannot say for sure whether it is right or wrong, but something about it brings a great deal of uneasiness.
Comments made at the end of news articles, interviews of Canadians, blogs, posts… many people are thanking God that they don't live in Japan; how they're lucky not to live in Japan; how they will not complain ever again about snow and cold weather, because at least they don't live in Japan.
As a believer, I find this lopsided gratefulness terribly disconcerting.
Why, when we are called to be thankful in all things, should we not be thankful to live in Japan? Yes, the country is in a state of emergency, but do not emergencies happen in Canada also? Are there Asian people out there somewhere reading about our sub-zero temperatures, saying: "At least I don't live in Canada?"
Why did it take the sudden and immense suffering of an entire nation for people to stop complaining about snow?
Why are people looking at Japan's suffering and claiming luck or God's benevolence about where we are living, when all around us there is suffering?
Why, in our arrogance, do we now so humbly thank God that we only deal with snow when in a moment we could be the next Japan? Are we that certain that Canada is rock solid?
Yes… we are grateful to God for the country He has given us to live in. However, as believers this gratefulness permeates our core no matter which country we live in — democratic, dictatorial, cold, warm, prone to natural disasters or not.
Yes… we are grateful to God that we have voices to pray with our brothers and sisters around the world, to realize the work that has yet to be done, and to intercede and stand where injured beloved of God may not be able to at this time.
I echo the comments of thanks, but would admonish ourselves that we re-focus the thanks towards the Truth and not just a "Phew! Glad it wasn't me!".