In February 2014, a most rare heavy snowfall came upon the Kanto area of Japan where I live in the Gunma Prefecture town of Matsuida. The buildup of snow more or less paralyzed traffic, collapsed roofs and even some light buildings, caused a few deaths, several injuries, and many varied hardships upon several million souls under the snow.
I am most thankful to my Lord God that back in December (2013) I had ridden the trains from my house in Matsuida far, far south in Japan to semi-tropical Miyakonojo City in Miyazaki Prefecture in the southern island of Kyuushuu. While my friends in the Matsuida area were snowed under for several days, daily I was going outdoors in the mild climate in Miyakonojo to “preach the word” to many lost souls. It was glorious!
After migrating back north to Matsuida in warm March, I soon after preached at an assembly of Christians in Yoshii Town, a 25-minute drive from my house. Brother Arai who was in charge of that assembly, had me come preach one Sunday each month. That was a great blessing to me. Our Lord clearly led me to preach about tempting our Lord God by taking unnecessary chances of traveling by vehicle in hazardous conditions of icy roadways. I related to these Japanese Christian friends, the tragic deaths of Jerry, and of the pastor’s wife (in the previous story).
Pastor Arai was offended at me telling him and his flock that it is wise to cancel church services until the dangerous, slick roadways clear up. So after I finished my sermon and prayer, he “took the stage” to set things straight to his flock. With a “Defender of the Faith” militant attitude, he expounded at some length how we Christians should be willing to be a martyr for our Lord by dying in a traffic accident on dangerous icy roadways (if it came to that), as we were traveling to or from church in those conditions.
I was a guest preacher in his church, thus I did not rebut what he said to his flock. Instead, I simply kept silent then, and since then I have not said any rebuttal words to him or to any soul in his flock. But I will rebut his speech here, while praying that every soul on earth will read it.
‘Pastor Arai, one of your flock getting killed on the icy road driving to or from your church, just might not be the outcome of them driving on those icy roads. Their car might skid and plow into a young Japanese mother walking along the edge of the roadway with her 2-year-old infant strapped onto her back, and kill both of those innocent souls. Her husband (at work) was caught away from home by the snow. She desperately needs food or medicine for this small child. She knows it is most dangerous to drive on those frozen roads. She cannot leave the infant at home alone. So she is struggling along thru the snow and ice with the child on her back, so hoping the closest store will be open. But a member of your flock skids on the ice, plows into that innocent lady killing her and her infant, thinking he or she is duty bound to God to be out there driving in those deadly hazardous conditions.’
Pastor Arai has no guarantee from God that such a tragedy would not be the outcome, just as Jerry and that pastor’s wife in the States had no guarantee from God that He would protect and keep them safe. The following natural mindset often prevails: “I have the best of intentions in these plans of mine to get out and drive somewhere in service to God, or to do necessary work for God. Therefore He will keep me safe in these dangerous driving conditions.”
We pilots had the following “Safety Proverb”: “I had much rather be on the ground wishing I were in the air, than in the air wishing I were on the ground.”
You can well imagine what thought would likely have flashed thru Jerry’s mind, or that pastor’s wife’s mind at the very end, as each saw the enviable crash coming upon them, “I cannot avoid crashing into that vehicle! I should have stayed at home in safety!”
Suppose that on that “Iced In” day when Pastor Arai went ahead with the scheduled church service, his cell phone rang just before service time (a cell phone call from a church couple headed for church).
“Pastor, we just had an accident on the way to church!”
“Are you all right?!?”
“We are not hurt, but my car skidded into a lady walking alongside the road with her infant strapped onto her back. It looks like both of them are dead!”
They have no guarantee from God that He will prevent such. Had such happened, surely each of those church members would have wished a 1000 times over, that they were inside his or her own house, praying and reading their Bible at home.
“Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
“Abba Father, please help me to always walk in the Spirit listening to Thy Spirit when Thou art cautioning me against danger. Please guide all other people to do the same. Amen.”
Richard Yerby (Matsuida, Japan) www.Christ-is-all.us