Dot on a sheet of paperHillary Clinton said what I was feeling. What a lot of people were feeling after the stunning events in Japan and the Middle East this past week. "It's hard to catch your breath."

On days like September 11, 2001...or watching the layer-upon-layer disaster in Japan - I realize it's hard to find a mental or emotional "folder" to file these mega-tragedies. All those pesky questions about suffering and pain in the world start pressing again to be answered.

Holding handsI'm seeing so many images from the tsunami in Japan that just stay with me all day. And hearing so many stories that go straight to my soul. There's one that a particular reporter will have with her for a long time. From a survivors' shelter.

It was that dad holding his three-year-old daughter. When the tsunami hit, he grabbed her in his arms - and held on, literally for dear life, as the raging waters nearly pulled her away.

DangerMaybe it's the nuclear emergency. The images of fire and explosions and dangerous clouds in and around a nuclear reactor. And the haunting specter of something lethal in the air that you can't see or hear or feel. You can see a tsunami. You can feel an earthquake. But the fearful poison of radiation - it can be stealing your life without you even knowing it. Somehow Japan's disaster is making people uneasy around the world. Just look at the sudden run on iodine tablets and and a new discomfort about the nuclear plant down the road.

Broken roadI'm not used to news reporters referencing the Book of Revelation. But, then, these aren't ordinary times. They're referring to statements about earthquakes and disasters in what the Bible calls "the last days." As in the last days of human history. As in the personal return of Jesus Christ to change things forever.

Rubble from a disasterI turned on the news and all those stories about Washington budget battles and high gas prices were gone. It was all swept away by the massive tsunami that inundated Japan and then surged across the Pacific. The potential tragedy is compounded now by compromised nuclear plants and the threat of more quakes and even another tsunami. The replayed - and almost inconceivable - scenes of a monstrous wave erasing towns and lives swept away does something to your heart. Especially if you know the Savior Jesus.

Damage from a disasterAll of a sudden, the news is filled with some of the most ominous words in the English language - earthquake...tsunami...meltdown. It's disturbing.

As I grieve and pray for the traumatized people of Japan, I can't help but think what a precarious planet we live on. Some tectonic plates move a relatively few feet and a chunk of our world convulses for a few seconds. A nation moves, the earth's axis shifts and the landscape changes forever. Those convulsions spawn a monstrous wall of water that erases towns and sweeps away everything in its path. And destructive tsunami waves race 5,000 miles across the Pacific and are felt in California and Oregon. All because of some sliding rock beneath the ocean.

If these past few months were "Wild Winter," then these next few weeks are apparently going to be the sequel - "Soggy Spring." Oh, we might have thought we'd seen the last of those mountains of snow. Wrong again. The weather guys say they're all about to come floating - in melted form - down our rivers and streams. Here we go with floods again. Having lived a long time in a town whose one niche in national newscasts was major flooding, it's a heartache we know all too well.

A movie about a speech? Winning Academy Awards? Yup. "Best Movie," "Best Actor" for a movie called "The King's Speech"!

I don't see many movies (my popcorn is much cheaper and I don't like the sticky "cinemuck" on the floor), and I haven't seen this one. But the story's fascinating.

Once again the cinema's "Beautiful People" were there for Hollywood's annual celebration of itself. It's all about that little gold guy, Oscar. (I hear his name and all I can think of is the slob in the "Odd Couple" or a famous hot dog - I must not be one of the "Beautiful People").

There it was again, displayed for all the world to see. Hundreds of thousands of people, willing to risk everything for one thing. Freedom. The past two weeks, we've watched a powerful real-life struggle for freedom played out in a place called Liberation ("Tahrir") Square in Egypt. Once again, the unquenchable passion to be free has changed a nation.

            

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Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
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