“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 some explanation, and a reason not to give to despair and lose faith. First, as believers it is important always to know that whatever the tragedy the sovereignty of God is never in question. After tragedy befell Job and he had 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.
As devastating as a tragic event may be, it is important also to know that while it may not occur to us, then, in the whole scheme of God’s eternal purpose there is a more powerful reason, and that is pointing us to God.
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 would never accept Christ. But upon the death of her mother, the daughter walked of her own and gave her life to Christ.
In 1956, four missionaries- Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Peter Fleming- while attempting to contact and share the Gospel to the Huarani tribes in Ecuador, who had never been reached where attacked and speared to death. Out of this tragedy, it has long been recognized, grew support for missions around the world that has led many to Christ.
For the one who has just gone through a tragedy, much here may not strike sense, and the best one can offer is throw his arms around to bring comfort. But there is a meaning that only becomes clear with time, like the light of the sun breaking through darkness.
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, I pray never to lose faith, for you are in control, and our anchor of hope, and this I pray in Jesus’s name!