Built to Stand

Built to Stand

At about 3 pm on March 11, 2011, the Tohoku earthquake hit the northeastern half of Japan. It was the worst earthquake in that area’s recorded history. Thousands were killed, and hundreds of thousands more were forced to evacuate and move in with friends or into temporary shelters.

When we felt the first tremors, my sister, Yuriko, and I thought nothing of them. Small earthquakes are frequent, sometimes daily, occurrences in Japan. Everyone learns to take them in stride. However, when the shaking escalated instead of subsiding, we rushed outside and held onto each other just to stay on our feet. The ground undulated. Our house, which was built to withstand earthquakes, swayed like the trees outside but didn’t fall. We later learned that in the area where we live, 205 km (128 mi) from the epicenter, the tremor measured 6.5 in magnitude.

My first concern after the quake was how my friends and family had fared. The electricity, gas, and water had all been cut, the phone lines were jammed, and it was very cold. Transportation had ground to a halt, so Yuriko and I could not even get to where our parents were. Realizing that the best thing we could do in such a situation was pray, we prayed for everyone we could think of. Eventually we were able to get through to our parents. I have never been so relieved as when they told us they were safe.

When our electricity was restored, I got online to find out how my other family members and friends across Japan were doing. It had only been a few hours since the earthquake struck, but my Facebook wall was already plastered with notes. “How are you doing?” “I’m praying for you!” “You and your family are in my prayers!”

One by one, our friends reported that they were unharmed. Some people told of having been near factories that had caught fire, or near the seashore where they could have been swept away by the ensuing tsunami, but all had been protected from harm.

The earthquake made me appreciate my friends and their support more than ever. Like the sturdy construction of our house, made to withstand violent shaking, friendship is best proven in times of trouble.

Proverbs 18:24 ESV – A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

John 15:13 ESV – Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Proverbs 20:6 ESV – Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?


  1. May 15, 2014, 8:44 am   /  Reply

    we all have problems,,,put them in gods hands,,christ see,s &knows,s who we are the belivers will not be shaken..

  2. May 15, 2014, 1:41 pm   /  Reply

    I really needed to read this, it is confirmation that my Heavenly Father has already worked my problems out.Praise God in Jesus name Amen!!

  3. Otis
    May 15, 2018, 12:14 am   /  Reply

    He is a never failing friend. It is for us to understand that even in times or great hardship we are already victorious because our God has NEVER lost a battle. Please know that our God is always ahead of us so by the time we are going through a battle it has already been won. So I say to you, find the courage in your heart to praise him in the midst of it all. Truth is……you can NEVER lose.

  4. Jeri
    May 15, 2018, 7:19 am   /  Reply

    God is FAITHFUL!

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