It’s our second Sakura season in a pandemic. It’s the second lockdown back home, and infections are worse than ever.

While we spent the first in quiet seclusion, this time, we were in calls to friends and relatives as our family trooped to the trees. As many are still unable to see beyond the very walls of their own homes, or even freely breathe the very air they share at their humble confinements, we wanted to give glimpses of what the world is now missing of Japan, with fervent hope that the COVID nightmare will come to its much-sought end.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Sakura, but the simplest, most obvious one is still the most powerful: Look up.

Whatever you are faced with, before anything else, look up.

Psalm 46 lays it out in much the same way.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.”

Psalm 46:1-3 (NKJV)

The psalmists speak of great calamities, but not before “looking up”; reminding themselves of who God is: a shelter, a source of power, a helping hand.

The one who created all things and sustains all things is still far greater than all our calamities, and He says, “be still.”

“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm  46:10 (NKJV)