Robert & Roberta Adair

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of frogs and shrines Every week for the last month or so, my new friend K has been coming to our house (I went to hers once) for conversation and Bible study. We talk in Japanese for a little bit, and then we do a Bible study in English (the booklet is also in Japanese).

She asked me the morning that we meet if we could go to Shiogama shrine (a Shinto religious site). I was a bit surprised but said sure. Although it’s big, famous, and only minutes from my house, it was my first time to go there. It was so beautiful – big, old trees, ponds, fall flowers, and a view of the ocean. It was also a gorgeous day – warm sun, cool breeze, and clear air. I had the same response to other times I’ve been to Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. There is so much beauty, yet people who worship there are so lost. It’s a strange mix of awe and grief.

of frogs and shrines  of frogs and shrines
of frogs and shrines  of frogs and shrines

Anyway, as K and I sat down to drink tea and eat mochi near the shrine (wow – I was conflicted about what to do…for real), I asked her what she thought of the place. She told me about how she used to go there to find peace. She used to think that gods made the trees so big, used to think that the spirits heard her, used to think the various “sacred” numbers and animals had power. Then she realized the shrines were just old homes, the trees were big because God made them that way (and humans didn’t cut them), and that God’s power is greater than whatever power is there.

She then said something that I found fascinating. She said she was like a frog in a pond. She said she asked other frogs where the sea is, but the other frogs insisted that the pond was the sea. For a long time, that’s what she believed. K then said, “Then I met God and saw the ocean – so huge and powerful and so different from the pond.” (I wish I could capture the sweet, eager way she said that.)

of frogs and shrines

God is doing something special in her life. She has been on a journey of faith for 8 or more years, and I’m grateful I can meet with her at this point (and that He arranged for our paths to cross). God is also doing something special in my life. Through her and others, my heart is softening toward being here. He is using her to give me anticipation of what He is already doing and what he so longs to do – reveal himself to people who he created, loves, and bear his image.

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