Published August 5, 2014
Tomorrow, August 6th, will mark 69 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, which effectively was the beginning of the end of World War II in the Pacific theater. It reminds me of a column I wrote a few years ago. I'd like to share it again, because it's based on some truths I think about often.
"Luck of Kokura"
The other evening, watching the History Channel, I learned about an interesting expression that the Japanese use "luck of Kokura."
In the final days of World War II, President Harry Truman decided to use the just-completed atomic bomb against Japan if they refused to surrender. They refused. So targets for the first-ever use of the A-bomb were selected.
Three cities were chosen for the first bomb. Hiroshima, Kokura and Nagasaki, in that order. Well, the weather over Hiroshima was good that day, August 6th, 1944, and, as you know, the first bomb was dropped there. The other cities, for the moment, were spared.
Three days later, the primary target for the second bomb was Kokura, with Nagasaki as the backup. The weather didn't cooperate, and, after several overflights, the target wasn't adequately visible through clouds and smoke from the earlier conventional bombing of a neighboring city. So the flight crew moved on to Nagasaki, where, as history records, the second atomic bomb was dropped.
Kokura had been spared twice. As a result, the Japanese coined the expression "luck of Kokura," defined as "escaping a terrible occurrence without being aware of the danger."
Interesting story. But it made me think about how many times we, individually, may have been spared from something ranging from an inconvenience all the way up to something devastating without ever knowing it, without even being aware of the danger.
The time the oncoming driver woke up just in time to stay in his own lane and not swerve into yours...and you knew nothing about it.
The time others ate the same restaurant food you did and got sick, but you didn't.
The potentially serious health problem that you had, but which just....went away without your knowing it.
The protection granted to your children during their school years from...who knows what.
The protection granted to your home from fire or other devastation.
The mechanical problem that your car didn't have.
The metallic sliver that just missed your eye in the shop when you weren't wearing safety goggles and you didn't notice.
The time your airliner may have had mechanical problems that just didn't manifest themselves.
The forgotten kitchen candle that harmlessly burned itself out.
Many of those, perhaps, are not really good examples of what I'm saying, because you may have had some awareness of the dangers. But what intrigues me is imagining how often God protects us from dangers of which we have absolutely no awareness whatsoever.
Whether or not each Christian has a guardian angel (I think our kids, when young, must have kept several busy) is a question that's open to theological debate. (Psalm 37:7 does say, "The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.") It's more likely that God employs angels on an "as needed" basis. Nothing catches Him by surprise, you know. But, if guardian angels did have individual assignments, wouldn't be interesting to read through your angel's "service log?" I'm sure you would find an abundance of incidents in which you were protected from a danger of which you had absolutely no awareness.
So I believe the "luck of Kokura" for each of us is not luck at all, but a simple (but significant) manifestation of God's love and grace.
After you thank Him today for all of the blessings you know about, how about thanking Him for all the ones about which you haven't a clue.
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