For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested
as we are, yet without sin.
John and I were living in Kobe, Japan in January, 1995 when the city was awakened by a massive earthquake. As a result of the quake, over 6,000 people died and more than 300,000 were left homeless. We were among the fortunate who could remain in our house, even though we had no running water for a month and no gas for two months.
As Lent arrived, I had a new appreciation for what incarnation looked like. In choosing to live in Japan, we had tied our own fate to the fate of our Japanese friends—along with them we experienced aftershocks, shortages, transportation issues and the host of inconveniences that come with such a disaster.
Yet our situation was also different. With one phone call to the mission board or family, we could be on our way back to the US where life was normal, business as usual. Many other missionaries and expatriates had left the country shortly after the quake and no one blamed them.
But for our Japanese friends and colleagues, there was no escape. Their homes were gone or damaged, their extended families were also suffering, and all their friends had experienced similar losses.