How does a catastrophe like the Japanese earthquake affect one’s faith?
Answer: The total devastation
visited on Japan’s northeast coast by the massive earthquake, tsunami,
mass evacuations and the nuclear disaster that followed the great
flood, brought grief, sorrow and consternation to every heart. This
disaster narrative is still being written.
In every natural disaster, one may find a providence of God. All
natural disasters have the potential for bringing out the best and
worst in humankind. Compare the bravery, nobility and calm, unhurried
discipline of the Japanese people with the murders, robberies, mayhem
and mass confusion that accompanied Hurricane Katrina on August 29,
2005 in New Orleans.
Now consider the heroism and self-sacrifice exemplified by the workers
at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in their prolonged efforts to prevent a
catastrophic meltdown at the nuclear station that lies a mere 240 km
(150 miles) north of Tokyo.
Think also of how the bonds of worldwide human solidarity and
compassion have been strengthened. Promises of material assistance to
that sorely struck land have been made by those affluent nations that
are willing and able to help.
The disaster in Japan is a wake-up call for complacent westerners. What
makes us think that our turn is not coming, whether the visitation be
“an act of God” or a disaster scenario of our own making?
Anne Thomas, a Buddhist Reiki Master living in Sendai who experienced
the devastation directly, wrote in an e-mail of March 14, 2011 that
“there is indeed an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring
all over the world right at this moment … I can feel my heart opening
very wide … this wave of birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet
I feel that Anne’s intuition of a birthing is correctly pointing to one
leg of that “dual phenomenon” to which Shoghi Effendi (1897-1957), the
Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, set out in his world order letters during
the 1930s and ’40s: the “death-pangs” of the old and the “birth-pangs”
of a slowly emerging new planetary world order. “The one is being
rolled up, and is crashing in oppression, bloodshed, and ruin. The
other opens up vistas of a justice, a unity, a peace, a culture, such
as no age has ever seen” (The Promised Day is Come, p. 17). - Jack