Is the recent destruction in Japan a measure of God’s wrath to destroy Japan or is it a measure of grace to save Japan?
It is true that Japan is a nation of “8 million gods” with Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples found everywhere. It is also true that Japan is currently cited as being less than 2 percent Christian according to the CIA 2011 World Factbook. I suppose these alone would be good reasons for a jealous God (Exodus 20:5) to smite a nation of those who do not seek His face or choose to lift up the name of Jesus. However, God has allowed Satan to be the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), as well as “prince of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) and “ruler of this world” (John 12:31)–but for a time. Inasmuch, God controls all things and the earth belongs to Him (Psalm 89:11), so how could He let this happen?
When bad things happen, many people default to a form of justice, judgment, or “you had it coming” point of view. Why? I believe most people have a built-in sense of what is right and wrong, so we tend to lean toward the concept that good things should happen to good people and bad things should happen to bad people. According to the Bible, that could be a sticky situation since it states there are none good, “not even one” (Romans 3:10).
Perhaps if we take the view of grace in light of Japan’s natural disaster, this could make sense. It would also affirm the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, that His death was not in vain.
Sometimes when tragedy strikes, it is God’s way of gaining our attention. Consider the story of Moses and Pharaoh (Exodus 5). God desired to free His people, yet the bonds of Pharaoh were strong and kept them in slavery. God had designed for a redeemer to come, and a kinsman redeemer at that. Moses was Hebrew, one of their own kind sent by God to confront the ruler which kept the Israelites in bondage for over 400 years.
In the same way, Jesus was sent to deliver us all from sin and the bonds of Satan, the “ruler of this world.” But how can he do that when people are blind to the Light and ignorant of the ways of righteousness through Jesus Christ?
When my children don’t listen, hard lessons usually follow. The lessons are sometimes extreme for two reasons: 1) to get their attention and 2) to cause them to remember the lesson. Sometimes the hard lessons are met with tears, and sometimes with a heavy heart. But in the end, I know they are learning how to cope with consequences for their actions. In Japan’s case, for most Japanese, God is not their Father. Therefore, I believe this is not a case of wrath to cause them to remember since they do not have God’s laws in their hearts already, but the former, a cause to get Japan’s attention. A means of using evil for good, to move the hearts of men toward God and His provision. To give pause to the soul to ask “what is life, anyway?” and to offer grace where sin abounds. Without sin there is no need for grace, and apart from grace there is no use for salvation since all are counted guilty outside of the shadow of the cross.
The Japanese have facing them now the most amazing opportunity ever, but for believers this also means a mighty task at hand. To use this time in Japan’s history — not unlike the tragic bombings of World War II — to bring a message of hope, healing and life through Jesus Christ. If there is one thing I believe all mankind needs and wants, it is hope. Hope that there can be a better future, certainty of life after death and a reason to continue.
Christians, this is our time to stand up very tall for Jesus with the only message on the planet which matters right now–that Jesus Christ died for our sins, that through His name and confession of belief in Him we can all be saved and not just saved from destructive forces of the earth, but saved from the torments of an eternal hell separating us from eternity with God.
Accepting Jesus will not necessarily rebuild a home or town of concrete and steel, but it will rebuild the ruins of the desolate heart. Christians, unite! Pray! Seek the Holy Sprit and ask for the grace and mercy of God to find and take hold of millions of Japanese today.