On Friday, March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck Japan, claiming more than 15,000 lives and causing over $200 billion (U.S.) in damage. On being warned of the impending tsunami, 32-year-old Kei found safety on higher ground. “The next morning, I went back home to collect what I could,” he says, “but everything had been washed out to sea, including my apartment. All that was left was the foundation.
“It took some time for me to grasp that I had lost not just individual items but my entire environment. It was all gone
COPING WITH TRAGEDY
Try to focus on what you still have rather than on what you lost. The Bible says: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Kei recalls his situation: “At first,” he says, “I made a list of what I wanted, but this just reminded me of everything that had washed away. I decided to include on my list only the things that I really needed, and I updated it as my needs were cared for. That list helped me to reestablish my life.”
Rather than become self-absorbed, use your experience to comfort others. “I received a lot of help from both public relief work and personal assistance, but as I grew accustomed to receiving, I began to lose my self-respect,” Kei says. “Then, I called to mind the Bible’s statement at Acts 20:35 that ‘there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’ Since I was limited in what I could give materially, I set out to give words of encouragement to other victims of this disaster. Showing generosity in this way was a big help to me.”
Pray to God for practical wisdom to deal with your circumstances. Kei trusted the Bible’s assurance that God will “pay attention to the prayer of the destitute.” (Psalm 102:17) You can do the same.
^ par. 9 To learn what God’s purpose is for the earth, see chapter 3 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.