It seems very trivial to think about the issues that I’m facing when I know thousands of people around Padang and Bengkulu in Indonesia, in the Philippines and over in Samoa in the Pacific, are homeless, scared, and traumatised. It was quite a contrast as well to see my Facebook wall – whilst some of my friends were worried sick about their uncontactable relatives in Padang and were organising donations and arranging sustainance to be sent over, others were more concerned about silly, mundane things.
The earthquakes reminded me of an unrelated event – of the fear that I had when the Chinese were targeted in Jakarta in 1998. I had to stay at my second sister’s apartment because I couldn’t return home – there were people out there who would abuse and beat any Chinese who dared to venture around. I remember my fear – I remember thinking about the Jews who were left in Germany, who didn’t have any means to escape the country. I thought about thousands of Europeans who were left in Shanghai when Japanese forces marched in. The helplessness when everything that you had were taken away from you. I could get back to my third sister’s house in 1998 – where I lived at that time. However, the incident had left an emotional scar – perhaps it is less noticeable now, but it’s certainly there.
I could just imagine the hundreds and thousands of people in Padang and Bengkulu – who lost everything. In the morning they were probably busy with their own activities – some were probably still in their festive mood after the Eid holiday. Some were back at school or university, or were out shopping when the earthquake struck. The next thing they knew, they had lost everything – their house, some of their relatives, and their lives as they knew before. The plight of the West Sumatrans stayed on my mind when I did my grocery shopping this evening – how could I understand what they went through? Choosing which biscuit to buy or what coffee brand to get seemed so silly compared to what they had to face: how they would survive the night, where they would get their food and clean water. Whether their loved ones still survived underneath the rubbles … :sigh:
My prayers are with the survivors and for those who are worried about their loved ones in Padang, Bengkulu, Samoa, the Philippines.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the LORD your God,
The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah 43:1-3a (NKJV)
We were warned already …
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
Matthew 24:6-8 (NKJV)
… so we just need to be wise.
So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 (NKJV)