Tsunami of Doubt

Like so many Americans, I’ve been watching the newscasts and online feeds showing the devastation in northern Japan from the earthquake-triggered tsunamis that struck yesterday.

With some photo journalism in my  background, the photographs of the tsunamis aftermath have captured my attention the most. There are so many of them, and although I’m on the East Coast I’ve found the LA Times online site to have some of the best—and by best I mean most physically engaging in terms of capturing emotion in their content.

I cannot begin to imagine having to pick up the pieces amongst millions of shattered lives after such a widespread national tragedy. I cannot imagine how or where I would find the courage to move in a forward direction after such devastation. And yet one of the photos from a temporary shelter in Tokyo show some a woman smiling. Whether from relief that she has someplace to go, or from a moment’s joy in knowing her life was spared, well…the photos can’t tell us that. They can only capture what’s in front of the lens.

Closer to home, a neighboring community this past Tuesday saw a devastating fire rip through an old farmhouse, destroying the home and leaving seven of the family’s eight children dead.

Devasting. Right here at home, and again, I can’t imagine how that family is dealing.

That kind of stuff shakes my faith—total loss, just like the Bible’s Job. I have to wonder what it does to the actual victims.

Like the earthquake that strikes in the middle of the night or the tornado that drops stealthily from the sky during an ordinary school day, this fire that lit up the night came without warning. Like it was for those in Japan, there was no way for the family to prepare, which causes me to wonder: Can we prepare ourselves spiritually for disaster? Should we try?

Disappointment, tragedy, even disaster can happen to any of us, and most likely will at various points in each of our lives. Will we have the patience of Job to place all of the burden at God’s feet and see it through?

It’s not an answer I know for myself. I would like to think that I could, but in looking at the images coming from Japan, and knowing the long haul the people and the nation have in front of them, I selfishly know that I never want that kind of test given to me.

As for the local Clouse family here in Pennsylvania who suffered the devastating farm fire, a photo of Ted Close, father of the seven children killed, that appeared in the newspaper on Thursday after their tragedy, shows him ashen and bereft. His loss is unimaginable, and the camera lens clearly caught that.

My heart goes out to him and his wife, who is pregnant. There are funeral expenses for the children as well as immediate and long-term housing needs. I wish for them the patience of Job in getting through this.

*****If you feel inclined to help, please send donations to the “Clouse Family Fund: Church of Living Christ” P.O. Box 180, Loysville, PA 17047

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