March 11, 2012

Looking back, Looking forward

Posted in Faith, Japan at 10:00 pm by catsinboxes

A year ago I was awake after spending the night at my office in Tokyo.  I was horribly tired, and I had realized that the earthquake I had experienced was not normal.  I had seen video clips of the huge wall of water hitting the coast of northern Japan, but I had no idea the amount of damage, the loss of life.

It doesn’t seem like a year ago.  I remember so much, the big things and the little details, like the coffee I bought at the convenience store near my office.  (It was Starbucks, and I was splurging!)

I remember getting home to Wisconsin after the US Department of State recommended that all US citizens leave Japan.  I remember going to church with my family, a new church for me . . . and singing Blessed Be Your Name.  I remember tearing-up as I sang,

When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say: Blessed be the name of the Lord . . .

You give and take away, you give and take away . . . My heart will choose to say,

“Lord, blessed be your name.”

I remember the uncertainties of looking ahead and wondering what the next step would be, wondering what the coming months would hold.

I still get questions about Japan, about how everyone is doing, about what it was like being there during the earthquake.  This post isn’t an attempt to recap what happened, it isn’t going to be an account of what Japan looks like one year after March 11th.  Instead, as I started working on this post and thinking through what I wanted to say, I realized most of all this is going to be a post about seeing God’s work in my life.

In the two months leading up to the earthquake, I belonged to Tokyo’s Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) group.  We were studying Isaiah 40 and onward.  In the days, weeks, and even months following the earthquake, I’ve loved and hung onto the verses from Isaiah:

Fear not, for I am with you;

Be not dismayed for I am your God.

I will strengrhen you,

Yes, I will help you,

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand . . .

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by your name;

You are Mine.

(Isaiah 41:10 & 43:1)

Was that a coincidence?  I think not!  I love God’s timing and His providence.

Looking back at last summer, I remember all the uncertainty.  I remember wrestling with the fact that God was in control, the I had to depend on Him.  I wanted so badly to be holding the reins!

Now fast forward to the present.  I have learned so much!  Am I there yet when it comes to resting fully in God’s plans?  Not at all!  But I have come a long, long way.  This past week I found out what my summer is going to look like . . . I’ll be a counselor at a Christian summer camp.  I’m very, very excited!  At the same time, I am so glad that I have been relying and resting in God’s plan and not my own.

I’ve found myself being challenged in different areas, in areas that I have really not expected.  I’ve found myself constantly going back to the Gospel.  I am not perfect, I fall short so many times, but it’s so neat being able to see God’s sanctifying grace in my life.

But as for me, I will look to the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation;

my God will hear me.

~Micah 7:7

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