With an earthquake registering about 9.0, countless aftershocks, a devastating tsunami that spanned nearly 5,000 miles of ocean, millions of Japanese without drinking water and electricity, running out of food, hundreds of thousands left homeless, fuel shortages, and a nation last week among the world's financially better off now on the brink of economic collapse, one is left to think of several passages of Scripture. David wrote, "Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am" (Ps. 39:4). A later psalm says, "O Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? Man is a mere breath; his days are like a passing shadow. Bow Your heavens, O Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, that they may smoke. Flash forth lightning and scatter them; send out Your arrows and confuse them. Stretch forth Your hands from on high; rescue me and deliver me out of great waters..." (Ps. 144:3-7).
Today, my family and I stood on the Santa Cruz wharf in California, watching the high, choppy waves pound the shore. Just three days ago, it was the site of the fingertips of the tsunami's reach. Yet, dozens of boats were destroyed and dislodged as if they were tiny toys. Staring at the vastness of the sea and sensing its power, I am reminded that we are frail and dependent upon the Lord. God's power is boundless while natural disasters like the one gripping not just one country but threatening many others teach us our many limitations. How amazing that despite our frailties and God's endless strength, He made us in His image (Gen. 1:26-27) and He thought so specially of us in sending Christ to die for us (cf. Ps. 8:4; Heb. 2:6ff). Christ is preparing a room for us in the Father's house (Jn. 14:1ff). We are vulnerable, but through Christ we can be victorious (1 Jn. 5:4).