When I hear about devastating natural disasters like what is happening in Japan, I typically find myself shutting down. It's so overwhelming, it's easier to block it out and pretend it's not happening, rather than share in the pain and try to react as I would want someone to react if the situation were reversed.
For some reason, with this particular natural disaster (and haven't there been so many lately???) I'm letting it into my heart a bit more. I'm letting it affect my life. I'm feeling the pain, wondering what on EARTH I would do if it were me. I've teared up numerous times, just aching for all those who are suffering...suffering loss of belongings, homes, friends, family, life work, jobs, security...and meanwhile wondering if they themselves are even going to make it through when food and water are rapidly disappearing and disease is likely on the rise.
It's really helped to put life into perspective for me. All of a sudden the issues of whether or not my pillows match my wall decorations, or whether my bedroom walls are painted, or whether I have shoes that match my outfits...all those things seem so trivial and silly. Who cares?? I mean, really?? These are not the things that make up life. They are just the little things that I start focusing on when I begin to lose sight of the big picture.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." - Matthew 6:19-20
I found the following webpage, which provides some amazing (devastating) before/after pictures of Japan. Each picture has a slider in the middle, and you can slide it to the left or right to see before/after.
I also found the following blog post, which through the main post and the comments shows two interesting and conflicting Christian views on natural disasters. Just some food for thought...which side do you agree with?
And if you'd like to give money, options are the Japanese Red Cross, World Vision International, Campus Crusade...there are a ton others, just make sure you're using a reputable organization. Look it up on Google ahead of time before handing over your money. I know that the talk against these organizations is that they use more money in administration than they do in actually helping the suffering people, but nonetheless they still need the money, and when there are no other options, I want to know I am doing SOMETHING. So I'm financially supporting organizations that are helping...and if through that money they are able to organize another committee to send over more support, then that's good enough for me.
Finally, just pray. Send your prayers that way. Pray that their suffering is eased, and that they feel God's presence and peace in the midst of their dire situation.