Susan invited me to her church as a pastor from Fukushima, Japan, where the nuclear power plants were affected by the earthquake, was coming.
Pastor Sato, who looked in his 40’s with a little grayish long hair, started speaking slowly with short sentences but clearly for an interpreter.
His church that was located within 5 km from the nuclear power plants was forced to evacuate, and some of his church members were killed by the earthquake and tsunami. At a shelter there were scarce food and no heating. In spite of the loss of lives and houses, however, nobody complained, “ Why did God let it happen?” Instead, they praised God, being grateful for a warm food after starving, or for a warm bed after sleeping on the hard floor. In fact, 8 people asked for baptism, according to Pastor Sato.
Our God, who created heaven and earth, chooses to come down to be with us and to go through storms together with us instead of removing all our hardships.
When my cousin, who read “Silence” by Shusaku Endo three times, asked a question, “How come people who were tortured and persecuted can still believe in God?”
“If He wants to get rid of all afflictions from us, He has to take away our free will, also. God gave us a free will because He loves us. Instead of taking away our free will, He chose to be with us who suffer.”
God didn’t stop the earthquake, and I got cancer, which is resilient and aggressive. Nevertheless, Pastor Sato’s church members have given thanks, feeling close to God, and so have I.
“I shall not want – Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me…”
Pastor Sato’s church members have experienced this Psalm 23, and I also identify myself in this passage.
Though this world is full of sufferings, God is not “silent”.
Susan’s church raised more than $20 thousand and donated them to Pastor Sato’s church.
God is good all the time!