The reason we can be content in the small place, in the role spurned by the world but to which we know God has called us, is the gospel.
After all, the second person of the Trinity was significant. He was, from time immemorial, on the social mountaintop (Phil. 2:6). And he descended to the valley (Phil. 2:7). He became insignificant. And he did it so that you and I, in ourselves insignificant, can be vested with true significance, real glory, not through strategic geographical positioning but through the unmerited love of the Father.
A long life of loving your neighbor in Nowheresville is not insignificant. It is glory, a glory that will one day be trumpeted before the nations as the Lord himself puts his arm around you and introduces you to an ignoring world.
“Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive, It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” Francis of Assisi
Stress caused by the coronavirus is not only destabilizing marriages it’s also increasing domestic violence in Japan. Anticipating the increase, Japan’s minister for women’s empowerment launched a national hotline in April. Domestic violence researcher Tomoko Suga said one woman came to her for advice after unemployment drove her husband to alcoholism and physical abuse.
For the past 16 years, reported violence in Japan between spouses, as well as between parents and children, grew annually. This year, Amnesty International said the number of Japanese women reporting violence in April was 1.3 times higher than a year ago.
Even without violence, marriages are strained. This year, the term “corona divorce” began trending online as stress from lost jobs, reduced income, and telecommuting ignited conflict in the country.
One Tokyo-based company tried to avert the anticipated wave of breakups by providing short-term rental units in several cities. “The goal is to avoid divorce,” company spokesman Kosuke Amano told Kyodo News. “We hope couples first distance themselves and think about [their marriage]. For our part, we will provide rooms that they can live in and an environment for teleworking.” —J.A.S.