“Crying is useless. If we're in hell now, all we can do is crawl up towards heaven."
It all looked surreal, like a computer generated image of a Hollywood movie! An earthquake of 9.0 magnitude! A devastating tsunami battering Japan and leaving 28,000 people either dead or missing! The sheer destruction and sufferings have taken the whole world to its knees! People are still struggling with the impact of the quake, particularly the damages it caused to the nuclear power plants and the hazardous spread of radiation. The survivors have no place yet to build their homes on, no job to earn their livelihood, and most of them have lost their close relatives in the rushing waters of the tsunami.
One could see desperate faces and frightened and tear-filled eyes, but nevertheless calm and determined countenance among the people of Japan. Their mood was summarised by a worker of the Tokyo Electric Power Company who continues to risk his own life, trying to shut down an affected nuclear power plant: "My parents were washed away by the tsunami, and I still don't know where they are. Crying is useless. If we're in hell now, all we can do is crawl up towards heaven."
In the aftermath of such colossal destruction and heart breaking sufferings, the world has so much to learn from the people of Japan. Even when the scenario was as worst as it could ever be, we could see people displaying extraordinary calmness, dignity and grace. They might have lost all what they had built up after the World War II, but they show a firm resolve to rebuild again, a steely determination to move on in life. They may have lost their dear ones to the fury of nature, but those left behind do not lack in generosity to sacrifice their lives for the betterment of others. How else could we explain the hard work of hundreds of people at the nuclear power plants, risking their lives to the high level of radiation? Ordinarily when a tragedy such as this takes place, the survivors panic, loot, steal and even attack others for their survival. But what we witness in Japan is calmness, order, dignity, generosity and sacrifice.
Paul the Apostle wrote to Romans: “Suffering produces endurance, endurance produces character, character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us” (Rom 5:3). As the people of Japan continue to fight back at the disaster, sufferings and death, we can only pray God to continue to inspire them with endurance and hope.