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Late Trains

...and without Jesus he would spend eternity apart from Christ? What caused him so much pain that he felt like he had to end his life? What happened to him that he felt so worthless? What were his circumstances that literally pushed him over the edge? What made him think that death was better?

I looked around the platform, and there was no reaction. Just another suicide among many. People flipped open their cell phones to text or call whoever they were meeting to let them know that they'd be late because of another darn "bodily accident". Some looked at their watches irritably. My friend told me that because this is such a common occurrence that it has simply become a nuisance to their schedule.

We waited for about 30 minutes, during which the announcement of apology came on over and over again for the delay in the time schedule. Only 30 minutes to clean-up and restart the trains. Then everyone got on, and life just continued for the rest of us as if nothing happened.

My heart is still mourning for this person, whoever it was. Maybe it was an older business man who recently lost his job. Maybe it was a high school girl who couldn't withstand the pressures of life. Maybe it was a homeless person who couldn't stand not being noticed. A recent article on the Asahi Newspaper (5/29/2009) gave some statistics on the suicide rate:

The number of people who committed suicide in Japan in 2008 surpassed 30,000 for the 11th consecutive year. In the first four months of this year, more than 11,000 people killed themselves.

In terms of the number of suicides per 100,000 people, Japan ranks second to Russia among the Group of Eight powers. Japan's rate is twice and three times higher than for the United States and Britain, respectively.

The article ended with this sentence:

The only way to curtail the suicide rate is through steady efforts to raise the hopes of those who are experiencing hardship.

"Steady efforts to raise the hopes" to me sounds so very empty. I would like for all the Japanese people to know that Jesus is HOPE FULFILLED!! Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. I pray that God would give us believers the eyes to see those around us who are devastated by hopelessness. May we never miss the silent cries for help. May there be less and less late trains because we love them into the arms of Jesus.

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