2017-10-04 / Columns

Living Through Tragedy

By Pastor Marv Root

Tragedy challenges all of us at one time or another. Everyone is impacted by death and destruction caused by a major natural disaster, even though we may not be personally affected.

When entire communities are heavily damaged or destroyed, our thoughts and prayers reach out. Some of us volunteer and/or send contributions to assist in recovery efforts.

Tragedy also strikes at the personal level. The shock of the phone call or knock on the door that informs us that a loved one has died or been seriously injured changes our lives forever. Things will never be the same!

To live through tragedy means looking beyond the circumstances and consequences surrounding the event. Wishing that things were different won’t change the reality. Wallowing in self-pity only prolongs suffering. Hiding from family and friends brings isolation and depression.

Living through tragedy requires a new focus. Ask yourself: (1) What are realistic options for my future? Avoid making hasty decisions. (2) Where do I find genuine support and encouragement? Allow friends and family to share your struggle and celebrate your dreams. (3) Do I really believe God has a plan for my life and that He will work things out for my good (as promised in Romans 8)? Faith and hope work hand in hand as God provides! (4) Am I open to a new reality for my life? Accepting change as permanent opens the door for new meaning. (5) Am I using available resources wisely? Network with support groups, professional counsel and testimonies of those who have lived through similar tragedy.

Throughout history, nations, communities, families and individuals found that tragedy has opened a door to new possibilities and unexpected joy.

While visiting New Orleans, I spoke with a lady in her mid-eighties who lost everything in Katrina. She moved away while her neighborhood was under reconstruction. She moved back to a community much better than she had ever experienced in her many years. Her eyes glowed as she told her story!

The greatest tragedy of all time was the crucifixion of an innocent teacher and prophet. But that death led to the greatest triumph of all time: the resurrection of the Living Lord! And as a result, the Roman guard proclaimed, “Truly this is the Son of God!”

As we live through tragedy, personally or communally, let us cling to this thought: God never leaves us in a place where grace cannot sustain us!

Pastor Marv Root serves the Northfield Community Church and can be reached at 353-2443.

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