The tsunami in Tohoku has clearly shown how powerless we are in the face of natural disasters. The Japanese, who were so proud of their technological achievements, had to realize that they were woefully underprepared and overconfident on March 11th of last year. Pride is debilitating – spiritually as well as materially.
Danielle and I started a Bible study on James and yesterday, we were reading the part in James 1 that talks about the impermanence of wealth. We need wisdom in order to know how to live our lives in such a way that we invest into things that last eternally. Missions work often focuses on buildings, programs, events and agendas. While these things can be helpful, they usually distract from what actually counts and will last forever – relationships and lives changed by faith.
The photo shows the disaster prevention center in Minamisanriku, a town that lost about half of its population to the tsunami. We passed by the remains of this building many times, on our way to work with children at the World Vision-sponsored play areas at local schools. What a drastic visual reminder that a building was not really able to save many people, but it was the right information that was passed on by Miki Endo which saved the lives of many. National Geographic just published an interesting article about the dynamics of tsunamis, entitled “The Calm Before the Wave”.