In The Midst Of Danger
Yuko fled from the classroom and rushed toward the bomb shelter with her classmates. She could hear the screaming of sirens and the roar of enemy planes overhead. Her stomach felt as if it were in her throat, and her legs and feet felt like blocks of ice as she stumbled down the steps.
Once inside the shelter she leaned against the wall and tried to adjust to the blackness. Suddenly the wall behind her shifted violently, adding to her terror. The school building shook from the explosion of a nearby bomb.
Yuko heard the screams and cries of her classmates, but only a sob escaped from her tightened lips. Not only was she afraid for herself, but also for her mother and father and little sister. She reverently prayed to her god for their safety.
Yuko knew that as soon as the all-clear sounded, the headmaster would close school for the rest of the day. Her brother would be waiting for her, and together they would hurry home, afraid of what they might find. Yuko could picture everything in her mind the way it had happened many times before. She earnestly prayed to Buddha that now, as before, he would keep her family safe.
For what seemed like hours Yuko sat huddled against the wall. Her best friend, seated beside her, had reached out and was tightly hanging on to her hand. No one spoke as they waited fearfully for the falling of more bombs.
Yuko’s country was in a holy war. The emperor had told them so. Yuko knew that victory would be theirs because Buddha was on their side. Each day Yuko burned incense for all the men who were fighting in the war and for the safety of her family.
She rejoiced in reading the accounts of victory after victory and knew that their enemies would soon be defeated. Her heart beat with pride as she thought of the flag with the rising sun flying high over her enemies.
The wailing of the all-clear siren interrupted Yuko’s thoughts. She hurried outside with her classmates, blinking in the bright sunshine.
Yuko’s brother grabbed her arm. “Hurry, Yuko. We must get home. I have been praying for our mother and father and our little sister. We must make sure that they are not hurt.”
Yuko bit back the retort that sprang to her lips. She knew that her brother prayed not to Buddha but to the Christian God.
Before the war he had gone to the American missionaries to be taught English. He had learned a great deal of English, that was to be admitted, but he had also accepted their God. Yuko’s parents were not happy about his decision, but for some reason that Yuko could not understand they did not stop her brother from attending English classes or church services.
When the war had broken out, the American missionaries had disappeared. There were rumors that soldiers had taken them away during the night. Yuko was not sure if this was true. She knew that her brother felt this to be so, but he remained steadfastly sure that his God would take care of them. Nothing had been seen or heard of them during the three years since the war had begun.
As they hurried along, Yuko’s eyes took in the devastation they were passing. Gone were homes and stores that had been there only that morning. People were wandering around in shock. Some were crying, and many lay injured in the streets. Yuko turned her eyes away from the terrible sight, and let her brother lead the way, keeping her eyes only on the ground in front of her.
“Thank You, Jesus,” her brother prayed as they turned down their street and saw their mother and father and younger sister.
“We’re so glad that you’re safe!” he told them. Yuko joined him in hugging each of them. How blessed they had been to escape the falling bombs. Just as her brother believed that it was his God who had kept them safe, Yuko believed it was Buddha who had kept them safe.
That evening Yuko and her family heard news of their family and friends. Most of them were safe, but some of them had not been so lucky. Her mother cried for a long time after hearing about the death of her sister. Yuko sat beside her mother, trying to comfort her, wondering why her god had not kept them all safe.
Her brother came to where they sat and with great tenderness held his mother in his arms and whispered a prayer of comfort. Yuko turned burning eyes upon him. “How could any god allow this to happen?” she demanded.
“It is not my God who causes such pain and suffering,” he told her. “I believe that there is an evil being called Satan, and bad things happen because of evil and sin. My Bible tells me that Jesus died on the cross for us and defeated Satan and sin. He’s given us the power to do so too. Jesus didn’t stay dead, but rose from the grave and is now in heaven. One day He will come back to take this world out
of Satan’s hands. But for now, if we accept His salvation, He will give us the peace and strength to live in this world.”
Yuko and her parents thought deeply about the words spoken to them. They knew that Yuko’s brother firmly believed what he told them. They also knew that he, unlike them, remained unafraid during the bombings. No words were ever spoken against the war or against Buddha. Instead he spoke only of his faith and the courage and hope that it gave him. He spent much of his time in helping others—putting his faith into action he called it.
Yuko spent the evening in silence, lost in thoughts of the pain and loss and ruin caused by war. In her heart Yuko wondered if she would ever feel safe again, if her heart would ever understand what was happening to her world. She knew she would never cease to grieve for her friends who had died.
Long after Yuko went to bed, she lay awake unable to sleep because of her troubled thoughts. There was such terrible pain and suffering all around her. In spite of all her prayers to her god, there was no safety for those she cared about. There was no peace within her.
In her heart she began to wonder if maybe her brother was not right after all. He alone found comfort in his God.
Hour after hour slipped by, and still Yuko could not sleep. Years of belief were fighting against her doubts. In despair Yuko got up and silently crept into her brother’s room.
When she touched him lightly on the shoulder, he woke up with a start to find her kneeling beside him. “Please, brother, help me find the truth,” she pleaded.
“Yuko, that is easy.” Her brother’s smile was reflected in his eyes. “My Jesus has told us that He is the way, the truth, and the life.”
He sat up and reached for his Bible. Opening it, he showed Yuko salvation’s plan. As she listened to her brother, the strug gles stopped, and belief took their place. Here within God’s Word was the answer to all of her questions.
Now with tears of gladness instead of pain, she asked her brother’s God to be her God. With joy flooding over her, Yuko knew that she too would finally have peace in the midst of danger.