The turmoil in the markets returned this week as a result of the Japan disaster. Added to the human tragedy is the renewed risk of economic bankruptcy. The unstable situation regarding the nuclear reactors in Fukushima and surrounding districts hit by the tsunami adds yet another layer of concern. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 1.18, which coincidentally I was asked to read in church this week. "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." The word perishing here refers to a spiritual death, and the word saved to the spiritual salvation which accompanies faith.
The great thing about faith is that it nullifies all the flimsy things that the world convinces itself through its own endeavors are valuable, and points the way to things of real value that are permanent and reliable. 1 Corinthians 1.25 says, "The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." The disaster in Japan puts into perspective the weaknesses in the will of man. Science in its wisdom has put faith in nuclear power. Economists in their wisdom have put faith in an economic system which goes up and down with the weather. Both are as nothing compared to the unfailing truth of God.
The people of Japan will need all the faith they can get. Having lost loved ones, entire families wiped out overnight, nothing will make sense to those poor people except the simple message of Jesus, who suffered as much pain as any single person on earth has ever suffered, yet rose magnified and enrobed three days later to sit at the right hand of God. Spiritual salvation cannot be defeated. The whims of men, the greed of the few who inflict calamity on the many, who put their faith in mammon not God, may wreak havoc in the world, but in the hearts of the faithful, where true salvation lies, there is a strength and a will to love which even the mightiest earthquake cannot destroy.
Earthquakes may be part of God's foolishness, but it is wisdom nonetheless, the sort of wisdom which comes with faith, which is invisible to our earthly minds, but clear as crystal to the workings of the Holy Spirit who builds men up and promotes them to the spiritual paradise of Heaven. Many thousands perished but many thousands will have been saved to live on in eternal splendour. Thank God we have that to rely on.
Milton Johanides is a retired businessman, church elder, writer and artist. He has been featured on BBC TVs Songs of Praise, owned numerous art galleries and once ran an award winning picture framing business in Scotland. The views expressed in these articles are his own.
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