Long-Distance Mourning

When the earthquake and tsunami happened in Japan, I ended up watching dozens of videos of the devastation that washed upon their shores. For better or worse, those kinds of images captivate me.

Turning to Facebook, I was thankful to learn that a couple of missionaries from Ontario who worked directly in Sendai were safe and that many other missionaries and brothers and sisters in Jesus were also declared safe. However, days later, the news sources began to share the more personal stories of those who had suffered major loss of property and/or life. The TV testimonies attached faces to the devastation that I had witnessed just days before and emphasized a startling point: these people have lost everything. In far too many cases, it’s a modern-day version of the circumstances that befell Job.

A couple of verses have since surfaced in my mind: Romans 12:15b, and I Corinthians 12:26 which say, “...mourn with those who mourn,” and “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” But how do we mourn with those on the other side of the world, particularly with our family in Jesus? In two ways I believe: (1) Pray. Acknowledging their loss and pain before God and continually asking him to intervene in ways that we cannot is a powerful way of saying “we are with you.” (2) Give. As I mentioned, the contrast is startling: some people are left with only the clothes on their back. Everything else is literally gone. Giving now may prove to be an appropriate challenge to our recent commitment to better stewardship. It may hurt, but perhaps that’s the point: “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it.” We can then return to God and ask his blessing upon the giver, the gift and the recipient.