In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan I began wondering where they would turn to for comfort in such an incredible tragedy. As a Christian I know who to turn to for my comfort, God. The Psalmist wrote, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2 Plus, God did something about the evil in this world by sending his son to die on a cross and one day all these troubles will be wiped away. Do the Japanese have anything to fall on that will comfort them?
In Christian theology God is not at fault for the natural disasters of the world. Sin is (Genesis 3, Romans 3:23). However, God uses the tragedies of the world to get people to ask about God. It forces them to look beyond themselves to a higher power.
You find this taking place in Japan right now.
Foxnews.com has an interesting article on this subject. You can read it here, www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/18/finding-faith-japans-crisis/.
Japan is mainly a secular country. They do not have a dominant religious system. You could argue Shinto is the countries religion but it itself is a mixture of many different beliefs. They do not believe in any one god, but in several gods, if they believe at all.
In spite of this many Japanese are turning to prayer in this great tragedy. They are praying for the safety of loved ones they haven’t been able to contact. The emperor said he was praying, but to whom, or what? One confused Japanese politician when asked about the theological construct of the disaster called it a “Tembastu” meaning divine punishment. He later apologized for his comment. It reminds me of Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s words after Hurricane Katrina.
Many Japanese are praying ignorantly to gods that do not exist, but the natural disaster is getting the people of Japan to look upward. I am praying that the missionaries in Japan right now will be successful in pointing Japan to a power greater than a god on a shelf, but to a God on high.