I sit in the garden and I can’t help noticing the yellowing leaves of the Narra tree and its seeds maturing and browning, and a whiff of melancholy passes over my heart for a fleeting moment. It reminds me that not too long from now, it will shed all of its leaves and it’s Autumn again. I think of how time flies so swiftly, and for a moment, I get a glimpse of how I’ve been spending my days. Have I been riding on the wings of time, celebrating each moment and each season I’ve been graciously given? For time is a gift; we can never take hold of it. We can only spend it as the Lord purposes it to be: redeeming the time (Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days ~ Eph. 5:16).
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Rom. 13:11)
I had a surprise visit with an old friend last week. In 2008, their family moved to Japan and has been living there ever since. She had visited me about two years ago, but I wasn’t feeling well then so I didn’t see her. But she brought copies of my book Walking Along the Narrow Path to Japan to be given out to her friends there.
So, she comes to visit but her family isn’t with her (holding only a picture of her daughter, Erika, who is Hannah’s childhood friend and a card from her for Hannah). We talk about Japan’s great earthquake and the devastating tsunami that followed just moments later in 2011. Tears threaten to leak out as I tell her how worried we had been for them and how futile my attempts were at contacting them (for I couldn’t, their cell phones and email not working). But prayers were enough. They are always enough.
She tells me they were just slightly affected by the earthquake (she means this in material damage but she sure was horrified swaying with the trembling earth). She says they were so scared, but thankful that they were not affected by the tsunami. Then, she gets serious as she tells us about the nuclear radiation. They are only a few kilometers away from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant. They live in Ibaraki prefecture.
She says that the whole world has gone silent after months of bad news from the nuclear reactor meltdown, but in Japan, they are living with an invisible enemy. She says that local officials declared that they are not in war with a seen enemy, for then, they could defend themselves. But they are waging war with a killer that can’t be driven away. As she talks, I am thinking of Psalm 91. My personal, precious psalm.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (Psalm 91:5-6)
I ask how they are. Have they been experiencing any symptoms of sickness caused by exposure to radiation? No. Thank You, God!
Her Japanese husband doesn’t want to move, though my friend has been nudging him about it. Now, she comes home to Manila to buy a condo unit. Just in case.
I tell her that’s a good decision. (For I wouldn’t act as if I’m perfectly strong spiritually. Didn’t I want to move after experiencing the great flood of 2009 which reached the 6th step of our staircase?).
What do all these things mean? She wants to know. (When they were living in Manila, she attended a Christian congregation different from ours. By God’s grace, I always ended up giving counsel to her).
“The end is near” is my answer. “We cannot do anything about it. We can’t stop it. It’s written in the Word,” I continue. She’s nodding.
“What shall we do?” There’s pain in her voice. I see it, too, in her eyes.
“Remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ”, I answer earnestly. I search her eyes and hold her gaze, and say it again, almost imploring, “Remain faithful to the Lord.” …He who endures to the end will be saved (Mat. 10:22).
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Rev. 2:10)
How do we remain faithful?
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His Word.
Trust only in Him. No, not in people or in our own resources, wisdom and strength.
Love Him above all things. Let your love for Him be constantly ablaze. Draw ever nearer to Him. He will draw ever nearer to you. For nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:35-39).
Abide in Him. Cling to Him. He gives to us eternal life; and we shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck us out of His hand (John 10:28).
Seek Him in the morning and in the evening. Hide under the shadow of His wings, in His ever protective Presence. His Spirit who dwells in us is our seal. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph. 4:30)
Declare Him to the unsaved.
Hold on to His promises. They are our bright, shining hope and durable inheritance.
To complete the reading of this post, please take a moment to meditate on Psalm 91 here.
Now, for my gratitude list (my gifts from His hand, in photos and words):
Might be linking up with A Holy Experience, Better Mom Mondays, Domestically Divine, Raising Homemakers, Brag on God Friday, Encourage My Heart, Spiritual Sundays, State of the Heart, Teach Me Tuesday, Teaching What is Good, Titus 2sdays, Women in the Word Wednesday, Women Living Well