So Thursday night, we were headed to Tokyo with our Japanese pastors, waiting on a train, having a great time, laughing, telling stories, excited about the marriage conference we were on the way to…when an announcement was made over the intercom, which usually we have absolutely no idea what they’re saying of course in their Tokyo train-guy super-nasally, indiscriminate (to us) Japanese. But after the announcement was made, our pastor told us that our train would be a couple minutes late because someone had just committed suicide by jumping in front of a train a few stations down the line. He proceeded to tell us that this happens approximately 100 times a day in Japan. (I knew that the suicide rate was the highest in the world here, but it became 3-D in this moment. Go ahead and look it up–it’s true.) I sat there and wondered–how many times have I heard this annoucement before and not even known it? How many suicides have happened just a few stations down before? What if someone had really told that guy about Jesus? I wonder if he had a wife and kids (probably.) I wonder what it was that broke his back. He’d probably never even heard the story that saved my life. They don’t know the story here, you know…
Everything slowed down for me for a few minutes as I watched them. No one’s facial expressions or body language changed; in fact, most didn’t look up from what they were reading or text-messaging. You see, they have heard this announcement hundreds of times in their lifetimes. Here we are in arguably the most industrialized, civilized nation on the planet, the land of the plentiful, where people have everything they need monetarily, materially. And so many of them are politely perishing in their quiet desperation. There’s an entire culture over here that is realizing that there’s nothing at the end of that rainbow. Oh, but I remember another rainbow–
A Rainbow of Living Color promising me forever with Him, past this world and its endless circles of futility.
Sometimes I feel so clueless in this country. Feeling overwhelmed by the immense, invisible need in this place, I am reminded again: Lisa Cash, even with her smiling eyes and pretty little heart-song, even at her very best, has absolutely NOTHING to offer them….apart from Jesus Christ.
But as Paul tells us, in a verse which has helped me in more than one season of longing to cling to all hope, “He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can dream or hope or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20) Jesus Christ, who reigns in power, (yes, even within wretched me!)–He’s got what they need. And if I can just point my little fingers, my little light, my little life to HIM, oh, Lord have mercy, what might come of this life’s offering?
Oh, God, you HAVE to do something here! Family, friends, cry out with me today. Please GOD, come near to these people! Show yourself, strong and mighty and merciful and full of tender love.