“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” - Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Perhaps one of the most difficult encounters in the Christian life is when tragedy strikes a good and faithful follower of Christ. Here is a caring and hardworking father, an elder in church, who falls to lung cancer leaving behind a widow and young orphans. There is that prayer warrior mother who dies during childbirth leaving behind a devastated widower.
When these tragedies strike, they can lead to all sorts of speculation- perhaps there was something wrong with the person for being a subject to some evil power. The grieving can be left besides themselves, and, if not careful, become embittered.
For Christians, there is an explanation, and a reason not to give in to despair and lose faith. After a tragedy befell Job and he lost everything, “Then Job stood up, tore his robe, and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-22). What here Job acknowledges is that in spite of all, of everything, God remains in control.
In the whole scheme of God’s eternal purpose there is always a more powerful reason, when tragedies occur. There was once a case of a mother who fell to a bullet leaving everyone confused how such a good person could die at violent hands. This mother had a daughter whom she had been praying for her salvation since days but she would never accept Christ. Yet upon the death of her mother, she walked of her own and gave her life to Christ.
In 1956, four missionaries- Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming- attempting to contact and share the Gospel to the Huarani tribes in Ecuador, who had never been reached. One day they were brutally attacked and speared to death. But out of this tragedy, came an outpouring of support for missions around the world that has since led many to Christ.
For the one who has just gone through a tragedy, common in these days of a pandemic, much here may not strike sense. In fact, the best one can offer is to stand with the person in prayer. But there is a meaning that only becomes clear with time, like the light of the sun breaking through dark cloud.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, sometimes it is difficult to understand and even appreciate when bad things happen to the good and faithful, yet in all, we never to lose faith, for you are in control, and our anchor of our hope, all this I pray in Jesus’s name!