I'm Not Afraid!

April 2, 2011

Faith De La Cour, Asian Access/Japan Missionary

Last Sunday I was reminded of the Frog and Toad story, Dragons and Giants by Arnold Lobel. In the story, Frog and Toad set out to see if they are as brave as the heroes in their reading book who fight dragons and giants. Here's a quote:

They came to a dark cave. A big snake came out of the cave.
“Hello lunch,” said the snake when he saw Frog and Toad.
He opened his wide mouth.
Frog and Toad jumped away. Toad was shaking.
“I’m not afraid!” he cried.

As I headed to the grocery store and saw it well stocked with milk, I just had to buy two more cartons—even though we had an ample supply at home. At that point, I realized I was like Toad shaking, "I'm not afraid!" Okay, I am a little afraid . . .

I have yet to really go without anything. We haven't had to adapt that much to shortages, and we now have a full tank of gas. Currently there are quotas on bottle watered and the yogurt section is empty (apparently thanks to the rescue of a grandma 9 days after the quake who lived off yogurt, there was a run on yogurt afterward!). Milk is usually available, bread can be found—or baked in my bread machine--and toilet paper is on the shelves again. But I do think we're all living with a heightened sense of fear.

Certainly seeing the Fukushima #1 Reactors on the news regularly adds to that fear. I now have some websites marked on my computer to check on the radiation levels in the air and water through-out Japan. If you track my facebook you know that I've been posting every article I've found by nuclear experts who say we're going to be okay. The Embassy has offered Potassium Iodide pills to every US citizen to have on hand just in case. (I recently learned that they are required to offer it to us by law—its not a matter of overreacting on their part.) Even yesterday as we visited our local physician for refills of our usual meds, he talked about people being anxious.

And I hear Toad's voice in me going "I'm not afraid!"

I had lunch with a friend from church yesterday, and we were talking about how life has the appearance of going back to normal. Do you know that there is more radiation in Hong Kong normally than there is in Tokyo with this crisis going on? Yet we live with this shadow of fear over us.

We have had the amazing privilege of living and serving Christ in one of the safest places in the world. Rarely do we worry about crime. The Japanese have been hyper vigilant about impurities in imported foods. We have a great medical system here. There are no civil wars and terrorist groups that impact our lives. While we haven't seen as many Japanese come to Christ, we can freely share without fear of reprisal and threats of death. My friends who worked in Afghanistan have come out with incredible stress-related illnesses including cancer. Other friends have served in countries where they've experienced multiple evacuations because of threats of violence. We move freely, have top notch communication, and more 24 hour stores than any other place I've visited in the US.

And now we are in an environment where many are living with background fear. With Toad we can say "I'm not afraid!" while quaking in our shoes. But Jesus offers us more than a chance to test our bravery. He offers us His peace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

With His peace, I can truly say "I'm not afraid."