I have never experienced a massive catastrophic event like the one that currently envelops a whole nation, but I have witnessed people in great grief and turmoil cry out to God instinctively in times of crisis when little or no attention was given before. Many of the journalist reporting from Japan are often heard saying “our thoughts and prayers are with you”, political leaders have made similar statements. It had me wondering, “to whom are they praying”? When someone prays to God whom they may not know anything about; can he hear them?
I like the story of Cornelius in the Bible. Described as a “God Fearer” and one that “prayed to God regularly”, he had an awareness of a creator and the presence of a supreme God. We don’t know what theological understanding he had, but it says that God heard his prayers. God desires to be known, all through scripture we see examples of God taking the initiative with man, reaching out and touching us. He answered Cornelius’s prayer by sending Peter to give him the truth of the Gospel. Jeremiah 29:13 say’s “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”. This is a truth I believe that applies to all people.
Of course God hears the prayers of the “unsaved” and he desires to be known by those who call to him. He can hear those who are crying out to the unknown God in Japan in the midst of their trial. His desire and love for the people I pray will include sending “Peter’s” to them. One such “Peter” was André Lachapelle, a 76 year old missionary from Quebec who was one of the victims in earthquake. He is one of many missionaries who have heard the call of God to bring the gospel message to Japan.
I pray that God’s Holy Spirit will in the midst of these devastating circumstances stir the Japanese people to call out to him, for he recognizes the heart cry of the one who is truly seeking him. As the verse in Jeremiah says: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart”.