taking the words of Jesus seriously

The latest reports say that over 140, 000 people are devastatingly positioned in Japan to be affected by potential radiation leaks from the nearby Nuclear Plant. Japanese officials have ordered these 140, 000 folks to seal their homes and stay inside – protecting themselves from the dangers of the leaking radiation.

This on top of the rising death toll from the tsunami and 8.9 earthquake that crippled Japan this past Friday leads to more questions than answers. Undoubtedly those questions at the forefront of the mind include: How could this happen? Did God let this happen? What can I do to help? What can anyone do to help?

I, personally, am struck by questions of priority. While I sit and banter back and forth about questions surrounding politics, new books releases (Love Wins particularly comes to mind), and charity dinners, countless sisters and brothers in Japan are suffering in unexplainable circumstances. Could there be a sharper contrast?

Numbers continue to fill the screen: 10, 000 people estimated to have been killed, 450, 000 are in temporary shelters, millions are living on little food and water. Faces soon join them: faces of children left stranded and alone, families torn apart by the unexpected and sudden disaster, and land drowning under water displaced from its preordained location. Before and after shots paint disturbing glimpses into the immediate and catastrophic realities of the earthquake and tsunami.

And now there is a nuclear meltdown.

As the world continues to spin we must not forget about our sisters and brothers in Japan. We must be in continual prayer and acute awareness about those ways in which we can be the hands and feet of Christ in this situation. But we must also not overlook the suffering and devastation that exists from this situation. Too often, evangelicals turn suffering into a chance for evangelism. Such an equation does not equal God’s favor but instead replaces the much needed suffering with a forced smile.

Now is not the time for pundit complaints about the misuse of creation. While there may well be truth in the dangers of nuclear power plants and their impact on creation and humanity, now is not the time to escalate this debate. At this time the people of Japan and their current suffering are the focus.

Please be in continual prayer for Japan. Please be in continual prayer for all those around the world that, whether yesterday or throughout their lives, have been hungry and in need. Please be in prayer for opportunities to mourn with those who mourn and suffer with those who suffer.

We do not have answers now, nor may we ever have answers. May our prayers be not for answers but for comfort to those suffering and in pain. May our prayers not cease.

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

Related Posts

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
    Check which Newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:    

You have Successfully Subscribed!