Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tales from Japan: Looking Back, Pressing Forward



We are now beginning to enter the Easter weekend in Japan.  It has been little over a month since the devastating and ultimately life changing earthquake that hit on March 11th.  Literally thousands of people are without homes, families, or jobs.  They have nothing to do but sit and wait alone and confused with no direction.  Even now hundreds of thousands and even millions live out each day still experiencing aftershocks that constantly remind them of the horror of that day. 

I often revisit it myself.  I have never experienced a day such as that in my whole life.  Over two minutes of escalating terror that led me to flee my office.  When I hurried outside, the mildly warm weather had turned into an icy cold wind and the sky became dark.  It was an eerie, awful sight to behold.  I will never forget it. I literally felt my soul move within me as I looked out upon the land.

Yet what I experienced was nothing compared to those who endured the black tsunami waves and the utter ruin of their homes and towns, further north.

So as the days and weeks went by I watched the aftermath unfold, hanging on to my wits and praying with all my heart.  Japanese are a strong people, but even they must realize that our strength is far from almighty.  Stories of tragic loss, human bravery, and brotherly love still continue to surface.

I have even heard of some who experienced supernatural things during the quake and tsunamis.  Some have heard voices from heaven, or seen angels, but do not know what to think of it.  They are like Saul, who experienced a supernatural encounter, and they need an Ananias. Japanese people are very self righteous people, who do not see much need for religion in their day to day lives, but I truly believe now is a time when many are asking questions and looking for answers. 

It is shocking to me how many Japanese have never heard of Easter.  They have never heard of Jesus, the risen Christ!  They know about Christmas and even know about Jesus on the cross.  But they have no idea that Jesus is alive, that He is a living LORD and savior. 

People often ask me about Japan.  They ask what is needed or how they can pray for Japan.  My heart tells me that there is nothing that can truly replace what many have lost.  People are so eager to help them, yet with all this generosity the Japanese soul still can never be satisfied.  I see it in their eyes.  They need a new direction, a new hope, a new path to walk. 

They need to see the power of the resurrected Christ in their lives.  The Christ who says in John 12:32 that "I will draw all people to myself."  They don`t need to exchange religions, they need to exchange their hollow lives for the true life found in Christ.

Life in Japan will go on with fear and panic consuming many while others will find a new path.  I pray that it is the path of eternal life, the path of Christ Jesus. 

There is much work to be done, but the workers are few.  Less than 1% of Japan`s population claim to be Christian, and it has been at this number for many years.  The heart of a nation is not changed in days or months, but takes generations until the time is ready.  In the past month not only has the earth and sea been shaken, but the very heart of a nation. 

I pray that it not be in vain.  That this month would usher in a new era.  That the eyes of the LORD would be on Japan and that God would send a tsunami of the Holy Spirit to wash away the hurt and works of darkness that have claimed this island nation.

I leave you with a vision I saw a few weeks ago while in the hospital.

I saw flood gates opening.  I saw clean water washing away filth and rot from the black tsunami of death.  I saw sadness turn to smiles as people embraced one another.  People began to see Christ before them, as He walked through the towns and cities.  He lifted His hands to heaven and the sky became clear and a song began to play.  The song was in Japanese.  It was a hymn to God, Japan`s own song to the LORD and the youth began to sing it and suddenly they were given swords and armor to fight. They went throughout the earth and prayed to God and were strengthened to take down many dark places.  They song and strongholds were removed and the light of God shone among them.

I truly believe and pray that this is the time for spirit of the LORD to visit these people and the youth of this nation.  Please join me in prayer and the provision for these people.  May we live to see the blessing of God come forth in the end of all this.
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