“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:5
I am sure your first question is: “Are we ok?” Yes, we are fine. In our area there was no real damage or loss of life. We went through a strong and sustained shaking. Trains shut down, phones jammed and many people were stranded. Belinda and I spent the evening driving some of them to their homes. The aftershocks continue, but we are so thankful that God has protected us, and those we minister to.
Our work begins though in a major way. Our disaster response team now shifts into high gear. As we pray and evaluate how God wants to use us, and CRASH, our response network, to take action, we know that the days will be even more full and the needs will be great. God has allowed us to be some of those who are in a position to respond.
There may be some Christians who give accounts of having no fear at all, but an incredible feeling of peace during a disaster. Personally, being totally honest, I hate earthquakes and they really scare me. I do praise God that He sustains us, protects us and even when things seem at their worst, He is there. His promise is never to leave us or forget us. He holds us in the palm of His merciful hand.
People often ask the question: "Why does God allow terrible things to happen?" I think we as Christians can answer that question a couple of ways. The common Bible textbook answer is that we are in a fallen world, that although is redeemed by the blood of Christ on the cross, is not fully realized and things along that line.
As one living in a foreign land and being a full time missionary, I would say that I have to trust God that He has that answer for each of us individually. What I mean to say, is that God not only uses disasters and challenging times for nations and peoples around the world, but He has a purpose for each individual. God always wants our attention, in good times and in the worst of times. He always wants to partner with us in His plan.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
If you would indulge me with a quote I remember from Bill Cosby whose records I remember from my youth, this quote that always comes to mind in these situations: “There are no atheists. When the ground starts shaking, they all look up.” Our job now is to help people know where to look and how to know His peace in all situations.
Belinda and I want to thank everyone for the many emails and other contacts, asking if we are ok, how they can help and how to pray. We truly feel loved and cared for. We also know in our hearts, that God called us to Japan long before we ever “figured it out”, and that He has always had a purpose for us, here in Japan yes, but also wherever we have been, and also wherever He takes us.
This is the Truth we would like to convey as I write to you our friends and families. God is with us and is involved in every detail, always. Everything we endure and experience is designed to give us the opportunity to see Him and equip us for pointing others to God. This disaster is an opportunity for us to be yet again, an extension of the Body of Christ. We are part of you , and you are part of us. In a very real sense, you are here in Japan with us in our hearts and minds yes, and, we pray, in partnership with us as we pursue what God has called us here to do; reach people for Christ in all things and in all situation.
Belinda and I again, can’t express enough, the thanks and praise we have for all your prayers and concern. God is good, faithful and merciful.
We intend to write updates on a regular basis as the situation unfolds. We will be sending out these updates as emails like this eNewsletter. If you have friends or family who would like to also be receiving these, please pass along these emails and the link to our website so they can sign up for these mails if they wish.
God bless you richly!
John and Belinda McBade