Thursday, March 17, 2011

Times are Changing

I have been monitoring the news coming out of Japan, as they begin to recover from a lethal combination of disasters. The situation reminds me of the movie Jurassic Park. Man has created something amazing and dangerous, believing that he can manage all the possibilities. At this point, no one really knows how the disaster will end.

Sorting through rubble and shoveling mud will eventually bring relief from the earthquake and tsunami. Geophysicists, according to missionary Carlton Walker, say that the force of the quake was so great that it moved the main Japanese island of Honshu 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) to the east. With a 9.0 reading on the Richter scale, the quake was the largest ever measured in Japan.

The damage from the shaking and deluge will take years to recover from, but their devastation has stopped. The fallout from the nuke plants may have only begun. No one knows when the radiation will be contained. No one knows what will really happen if a total meltdown occurs. We are dealing with forces that we don’t completely understand.

This crisis is sending other shockwaves through the world as well. Stock exchanges are jittery. Flights are cancelled. Energy policies are being reviewed. Even the friendly relationship between the U.S. and Japan is strained.

We look at this disaster in light of major changes in the Middle East, another key part of the world energy puzzle. While the fighting in Libya seems to be leaning toward stricter totalitarianism, in Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt and other countries, freedom may be taking hold.

There is even political unrest in the United States, as citizens clamor for an end to deficit spending and big government. The stakes are also high in political battles at the state level.

As all these changes come, we have to wonder what we can count on. What is our point of reference? It is easy to say that God never changes and we can always count on him. Yes, that’s true. But the bigger question is how well we build our lives on him.

For most of history, there has been constant political upheaval. And for most of history, standards of living and ways of life have changed very little from generation to generation. Today, the situation is reversed. We are accustomed to epic changes in living standards and stable civil life. I wonder if we are ready for that to change.

If our lives are really built on a relationship with Jesus, we can weather any storm, or earthquake, or tsunami, or war, or even nuclear fallout.