A note from Lisa Cherry: Our hearts go out to the precious people of Japan. Please be praying for them daily as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami which left over 10,000 dead, hundreds of thousands homeless, and the threat nuclear contamination. If you are able, find a way to help with relief efforts. World Vision is a charity that I respect, and they are already on site providing aid for the survivors of this disaster.
By Beth Groh
Keep the TV off? Or turn it on with the heart-breaking images from Japan…scenes of utter destruction following the earthquake, tsunami and the resulting fears of a radioactive disaster.
It’s a tough call, but one you can’t avoid as Christian parents.
For our family, the news from Japan does have a place—with limitations by mom and dad.
We can’t hide suffering from our children. Whether they see it on TV—or within our circle of friends and family—children at an early age will experience the reality of illnesses, injuries, manmade or natural disasters and, yes, even death.
We want to shield them.
But we can’t. And we shouldn’t—within limits, of course, depending on the age and maturity of each child.
We should teach our children a biblical worldview. And we can only do that if—number one—we open the world for them to view, and—number two—arm them with a foundation in God’s Word.
So what does a biblical worldview of the disaster in Japan reveal?
Well, for one thing in our family, the suffering in Japan cries out for teaching empathy. If we see our fellow man suffering, our hearts in Jesus should cry out to find ways to help. The Lord is compassionate, and the scriptures tell us to be compassionate also. We can pray and find practical ways to assist in the relief efforts.
A global disaster like this also should inspire us to share a heart of gratitude with our children. Unlike thousands of families in Japan tonight, we do have a warm and safe place to sleep. We do have clean water and food. We do not fear what may lurk in the air from nearby damaged nuclear power plants. We should be thankful, daily, for our health and safety.
Beyond the teaching opportunity—for empathy and gratitude—the scenes from Japan should stir our Savior’s own words to his disciples, as shared in great length in the 24th Chapter of Matthew.
He warned all believers to watch for “the beginning of birth pains” (verse 8) when we hear of earthquakes, famines, wars and rumors of war. These are signs, He said, of the coming days when He will return.
Does that mean the disaster in Japan is a sign of the End Times?
Who am I to say? Or you? Or anyone else, for that matter, when even Jesus said, “[n]o one knows about the day or hour, not even the angels, not the Son, but only the Father.” (Matt. 24:36)
Certainly history in the 2,000 years since Christ walked this earth has been filled with earthquakes, wars and disasters of all varieties. Who is to say that this earthquake is more of a sign than others?
But each dreadful event, such as what we’re witnessing now, should serve to remind us—and our children—that the Lord will be returning with His glory. We should be prepared and heed His warning to “keep watch”.
We should not be naïve like those in the days of Noah, as Christ reminds us in Matthew, who ignored warnings and continued to eat, drink and marry as if nothing in this life would ever change. They had a rude awakening when the Ark door was closed by the Lord, and they were shut out of His provision of grace and protection.
So watch—talk about the signs in our times—and prepare your family and your children with God’s Word and comforting assurances. Remember…you’re not just parenting for today, but parenting for eternity. Seize every opportunity—even tragic events like we see in Japan—to fulfill that timeless responsibility.