Friday, April 01, 2011
The one catastrophe that struck so close to home
Alright, not just for Facebook or blogger but for the latest updates on the nuclear crisis, tsunami and earthquake in Japan.
To be honest, these catastrophes seem to be happening much more frequent these days and within a shorter timespan of each other that I do feel a bit numbed to the suffering of people.
BUT, Japan was different.
Because I personally knew my Jap. friend and her 1-year old baby who went back to Tokyo to visit her family a few days before the disaster struck.
It was the first time that I was seriously concerned about the welfare of Japan because I knew 2 people there.
Her hubby was in Germany so he emailed us often to update us about his wife and son.
We prayed together as a cellgroup and as a church for God to intervene in Japan, that there wouldn't be a nuclear meltdown and the Japanese people would somehow get through this difficult period.
There's always this age-old question of "If God is a good God, why does He allow disasters like the one in Japan to happen?"
There's really no satisfactory answer I know to this question. But I do know that God is a good God and He has proven His love for us in that He sent Jesus to die for our sins and thereby paving the way for us to be reconciled with God. That, in itself, is the biggest evidence of a loving God.
We, however live in a fallen world. We are given freewill and we have used that freewill for either good or evil. Nuclear power for instance, in my opinion shouldn't be something that we continue to use in the next few generations.
Its a good servant but a seriously evil master. And there's no controlling a nuclear meltdown. As seen from Japan, which possessed one of the world's highest standards of safety in nuclear energy, even that was insufficient to prevent the crisis of the last few weeks.
What happened in Japan led to a shutdown of 7 nuclear plants in Germany while they performed more extensive checks on the safety standards of the reactors. In my opinion though, it was simply a political strategy for the ex-reigning government to pull more votes before the crucial election in Baden-Württemberg last Sunday - which was to no avail as the ruling party has been overtaken by the opposition parties for the first time in 58 years!
Germany is pretty much divided on the nuclear issue as well. However, there's an increasing proportion of people who are becoming strong advocates for renewable and safer energy sources. This I believe, is a positive move in the right direction.
Anyway, I didn't want this post to be about nuclear power.
I wanted it to be about passivity in the face of natural disasters across the world.
I'll be the first person to admit that I'm not active when it comes to responding to a disaster.
I'll pray and read the news for a couple of days, but the news would somewhat fade into oblivion as soon as the sensation dies down or the next "big" thing fills headlines across the world.
This time though, in line with my church's sermons of being active and being a responsible world citizen in the light that one day we will meet God and He will hold us accountable about what we did for the Japanese / people in Haiti and all, I have decided that I wanted to do something.
My friend started a donation drive for Japan. But we were hesitating about donating to this fund because of numerous reports that cited Japan's refusal to accept financial aid from external sources.
It was easy for us to say, "Oh well, they ain't going to accept my financial aid anyway, so why should I donate?".
But upon hubby's persuasion, I researched more and realized that the Japanese Red Cross has accepted US$10million from the American Red Cross and on the former's website, they said that donors can donate money directly to their local Red Cross organizations, which would then transfer the money to Japan.
So yup, I got the confirmation I needed to do a bank transfer to this emergency fund to Germany's Red Cross.
My point is, I was actually happy that I got off my lazy butt to do something! I mean, in the light of the scale of destruction, our contribution could be like one drop in the ocean. But I believe many drops make a rivers and many rivers make an ocean - you get the picture.
I hope that this would start something in myself to be an active instead of passive onlooker of suffering.
Since my friend and her baby got back to Germany, I heard her first-hand account of the situation in Tokyo and I'm beginning to realize that every catastrophe strikes each individual so immensely. We look at statistics of the dead, wounded or displaced and go "Oh man, how can that happen?" but that's about as far as it goes.
But that was in the past. I want to be sensitive to God and ask Him, "Lord how can I help? Please give me your heart and love for these people. Help me not to be de-sensitized but awaken in me a heart of compassion and to be your hands and feet in this world."