Here is the final thing I wrote on my recent trip to Thailand and Japan. I feel like this ended the trip pretty well both logistically and philosophically.
Nov. 11, 2013
Today, rode a bus to my final stop: Tokyo. It all starts and ends here, eh? I’m going to stay here for about 2 days and then fly back to America. I can’t wait to see my friends and loved ones.
The ride from Matsumoto (Nagano prefecture) to Shinjuku lasted about three hours. I’ve always loved highway buses, maybe just because they force you to relax. Unlike an airplane, the leg room is pretty good, and the chairs recline pretty well for a nap.
Today, due to procrastination in reserving a ticket, I left an hour late and got nailed with an outrageous $10 fee for a first-class seat. However, this was a blessing of God, because I got to spend that extra hour with my friend David, and I would have paid five times that for my first-class seat. There were only about three empty seats on the bus. One was to my right, and one was behind me (allowing me to recline to the full extent of the law). I sat in the very front and could see out of the windshield. During the ride, I just listened to music and watched the brilliant fall colors fly by. Mountains glowed and danced with the clouds.
In the middle of the ride, as the sun began falling behind the hills, I looked into the distance to see a very peculiar cloud formation. I stared for a moment, then my eyes adjusted, prompting me to quote Obi Wan Kenobi: “That’s no cloud!” It was a mountain! And if you’re in Japan and see a mountain that big, it can be only one: Fuji-san.
Nothing surrounding it even compares. Fuji-san stands alone. And that’s why it’s so famous: it rises like some primordial force of nature above anything else in the entire island chain. You cannot mistake the form for another: arched sides form a perfectly flat top, like something out of a painting. As the cold weather progresses, snow will drip lower and lower down its slopes. When I passed it, clouds surrounded its lower slopes and adorned it like a necklace, golden in the light of the setting sun.
Random Japanese trivia: Fuji-san means Mount Fuji. The “san” on the end means mountain and has nothing to do with the “san” attached to people’s names.
Perhaps even more than the Japense flag, Fuji-san represents this great nation. And as one who yearns for the Japanese people to know life in Jesus, that symbolism deepens. It looks down upon the other mountains around it. As you drive, while smaller hills grow and shrink, the fathomless Fuji-san stands still. It looks like a backdrop to a movie. Or a visualization for the spiritual atmosphere of Japan.
After the sun fell, another amazing sight assailed me. As we approached Tokyo, in the distance, the square blocks of red lights (these are the lights they put on top of skyscrapers to keep planes away) rose slowly against the black of night. The mountain of modern Japan rose to meet us.
The Bible says that every high place will be exalted and every mountain made low. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. His voice of mercy calls out to Japan and says, “Be humbled, ye mighty mountain.” To those who work day and night, He calls in mercy, “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden.” To those who crumple under the pressure and loneliness around them, He calls, “I set the lonely in family.”
A day approaches when the mountain of God shall be exalted above every mountain. The Japanese Christians who lay fallen and buried under a society that does not understand or acknowledge them will rise in exaltation over the mountain that has crushed them. And He calls every suited businessman and every uniformed school girl, every housewife in the kitchen and every shut-in grandfather to come to His mountain.
Will you pray for Him to send laborers to call this people to Him?