Japan: He was there

I have wondered with a heavy heart how to even address my thoughts on the earthquake and tsunami that have destroyed lives in so much of Japan and other places. My grandmother sent me an e-mail and a poem that I wrote over 5 years ago, after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Aceh, Indonesia, and so many other places. It seemed fitting enough to post. What I said then, I believe to be true now: in the midst of tragedy and destruction, God is there.

December 29, 2004: I sat tonight watching fresh images of the waters of death that have destroyed lives and cities, and I again grappled to understand. I wrote a post on my blog earlier, trying to give more details of all that had happened in Malaysia, though I wasn’t even there to see it. And tonight, I sat listening to a song by Avalon called “You Were There.” It’s a beautiful song…and I began thinking of all the death and destruction that had occurred, realizing that even in all of that, God had been there. I sat down and wrote…well, something. It’s not exactly a poem, or prose either. But it came from a part of me that was trying to understand all that happened, and a part of me that believes a God stronger than the forces of nature was there during it all. Some would say, “Well if he was there, why didn’t he stop it?” I don’t know; I couldn’t answer that question. But there’s a part of me that feels like just knowing God was there—he saw everything unfold, felt the pain and terror of each person—well, somehow, it helps me just a little. It might not to those who have lost loved ones or everything they owned…but even in all of that, God was there. He is there now. He will be there.

And that brings hope.

Much love, Katy

You Were There

When a force that shook the foundations of the earth began to unleash devastation,

You were there.

When the power of 1 million atomic bombs ripped through the oceans’ depths, You were there.

You saw it begin.

You saw the power and fury of the earth You created let loose.

When water surged and waves rose, You were there.

When a watery wall of death leaped up from the sea, You were there.

You saw the oceans You made begin to flow on their course of destruction.

When these waves began their mission of death, You were there.

You saw them ripple along their way, like ripples in a pond,

But this was not only a pond, and the waves were not only ripples.

When these unleashed forces of the oceans began to crash onto beaches, You were there.

When wave upon wave of water hit shores thousands of miles from where they began,

You were there.

When these waves crashed away everything in their path, You were there.

When the people You loved enough to die for ran for their very lives, You were there.

When houses fell and possessions were swept away, You were there.

You saw as these waves broke buildings, stole lives, left terror and grief in their wake.

Did Your heart break?  I don’t have to ask.

I imagine Your tears would put the waters of tsunamis to shame.

In the midst of death and destruction, the God of the Universe was there.  You were there.

You saw each life ebb away.  You heard the wails of grief.  You saw the terror of children.

You were there.

When bodies lay littered along the beaches of nations, You were there.

When widows and orphans looked for the loved ones they would never find, You were there.

When the peoples of the world reeled in shock at the destruction of a few hours, You were there.

When the dead were counted and the number grew to incomprehensible figures,

You were there.

And when people began to reach out and help one another, You were there.

When the world was bonded together by a crisis too terrible to understand, You were there.

When people touched one another in love, holding one another against this nightmare,

You were there.

When relief began to be sent, You were there.

When the world began to sacrifice for its neighbors in the name of humanity, You were there.

In the love and giving of self, to those who are left with nothing, You will be there.

In the months to come, when buildings and lives are rebuilt, You will be there.

When people begin to cope with shock and a life defined by death and loss, You will be there.

We do not understand.  Understanding may not come.  But we know this:

You were there.

Maybe that’s enough.

In death and destruction, the God of us all was there, closer than a heartbeat.

His power and might are greater than the force that shook the earth.

His love and grace are greater and more all-consuming than the waves that stole away lives.

And that kind of God was there…He will be there.

All is not lost,

For in the aftermath of it all…He is here.



Would you please be in prayer for Indonesia? This is the country I spent 12 of the first 15 years of my life in. I have been to these places shaken by disaster and riddled by deaths. My heart aches for them, these people who have already had to mourn so much loss from earthquakes in years past. Please remember them, and think of them now in their time of desperation.

CNN: At least 1,100 dead from Indonesia quakes, UN official says