A Prayer for Japan…

In view of the terrible and destructive events in Japan, Pastor John Piper helps us pray…

Father in heaven, you are the absolute Sovereign over the shaking of the earth, the rising of the sea, and the raging of the waves. We tremble at your power and bow before your unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways. We cover our faces and kiss your omnipotent hand. We fall helpless to the floor in prayer and feel how fragile the very ground is beneath our knees.

O God, we humble ourselves under your holy majesty and repent. In a moment—in the twinkling of an eye—we too could be swept away. We are not more deserving of firm ground than our fellowmen in Japan. We too are flesh. We have bodies and homes and cars and family and precious places. We know that if we were treated according to our sins, who could stand? All of it would be gone in a moment. So in this dark hour we turn against our sins, not against you.

And we cry for mercy for Japan. Mercy, Father. Not for what they or we deserve. But mercy.

Have you not encouraged us in this? Have we not heard a hundred times in your Word the riches of your kindness, forbearance, and patience? Do you not a thousand times withhold your judgments, leading your rebellious world toward repentance? Yes, Lord. For your ways are not our ways, and your thoughts are not our thoughts.

Grant, O God, that the wicked will forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Grant us, your sinful creatures, to return to you, that you may have compassion. For surely you will abundantly pardon. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus, your beloved Son, will be saved.

May every heart-breaking loss—millions upon millions of losses—be healed by the wounded hands of the risen Christ. You are not unacquainted with your creatures’ pain. You did not spare your own Son, but gave him up for us all.

In Jesus you tasted loss. In Jesus you shared the overwhelming flood of our sorrows and suffering. In Jesus you are a sympathetic Priest in the midst of our pain.

Deal tenderly now, Father, with this fragile people. Woo them. Win them. Save them.

And may the floods they so much dread make blessings break upon their head.

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

In Jesus’ merciful name, Amen.

Haiti — in numbers…

The following is compiled and presented by CNN:

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) — Two weeks after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, the numbers have mounted. The numbers tell stories of death and destruction, as well as a global outpouring of aid. CNN has compiled the latest, most reliable figures available as the devastation continues to unfold:

THE TOLL
150,000: Latest estimate of the death toll, from the Haitian Health Ministry. The European Union and the Pan American Health Organization, which is coordinating the health-sector response, have estimated the quake killed 200,000 people.
194,000: Number of injured
134: Estimated number of people rescued by international search teams since the quake

THE EFFECT
9 million: Population of Haiti
3 million: Estimated number of people affected by the quake
1.5 million: Homeless people living on streets, including the thousands who lived in slums or makeshift homes prior to the quake
235,000: People who have left Port-au-Prince using free transportation provided by the government. The number who left by private means is undetermined.
At least 50: Aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 or higher that have hit Haiti since the January 12 quake

THE CHILDREN
300,000: Children younger than 2 who need nutritional support
90: Percentage of schools in Port-au-Prince that have been destroyed
497: Haitian orphans who have been evacuated

THE RESPONSE IN DOLLARS
$1.12 billion: International aid pledges
$783 million: Funds received as of Tuesday
$317 million: U.S. assistance as of Monday

THE RESPONSE IN MANPOWER
17,000: U.S. military personnel in and around Haiti
8 million: Meals the World Food Programme has delivered to nearly 400,000 people
300: Aid distribution sites that are up and running
130 to 150: Flights arriving every day at the single-runway Port-au-Prince airport with aid

EFFECT ON FOREIGNERS
12,000: U.N. workers in the country at the time of the quake
53: U.N. workers still missing
At least 82: U.N. workers confirmed dead
27: U.N. workers injured or hospitalized
11,500: Americans and family members who have been evacuated
4,800: Americans unaccounted for
60: Americans confirmed dead

Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Red Cross, the United Nations, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. State Department and the World Food Programme, Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive

Earthquake in Louisville!

Well, okay, the center of this morning’s 5.2 earthquake was in Illinois, but I felt it in my hotel room in Louisville, KY, this morning!

I was up at 5:25 AM in order to catch my ride to the airport. I was in my room on the 14th floor of the Galt House (in downtown Louisville, KY), standing just outside the bathroom door at 5:35 AM (still eastern time there). There was a tremendous rumbling over my head, like ductwork being banged arond by guys with hammers. I was tired by looked up to try to localize the noise, when I had some trouble looking up and keeping my balance — either the room swayed, or I was still waking up (we’ll never know). The noise got louder, and I then thought the construction site outside my window was the source. The noise stopped after 12-15 seconds. Nothing unusual could be seen outside the window. So I hit the shower, then headed out.

I didn’t know it was an earthquake until I got to the front desk to check out.

Perhaps there is a spiritual application here? I’ll do some thinking and get back to you….
Pastor David