April 18, 2013

When Tragedy Strikes

Sometimes I think it might be best not to watch the news. The current realities of real-time worldwide updates of unfolding events can be overwhelming. From acts of terror to the atrocities of war; from industrial accidents to sickness and death; from debts and job loss to heinous crimes against people…all of this news can overwhelm and paralyze.

Though we may become numb to tragic events that don’t impact us directly, we are all faced with personal struggles and hardships at some point in our lives. They are unavoidable. So, how do we respond? I found myself asking this question this past week. Here are some options:

1. We ignore what is happening and pretend everything is fine.

2. We become anxious about things and become paralyzed.

3. We somehow work toward finding a balance and continue on.

I think it’s clear that my suggestion is to find some kind of balance and move on. It may not be easy, but I am discovering two things that help me with this. Perhaps they will also help you. I’d love to hear other suggestions as well.

First of all, commit to praying for concerns you become aware of. We can always pray for all things (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This is important. But it is vital not to carry these concerns as personal obligations to do something specific to solve a problem, when there may in fact be nothing we can actually practically do. Read 1 Peter 5:7 for some advice on dealing with anxious thoughts.

Second of all, focus on the positive ways you see God at work. Share this with others (in other words, practice fellowship and community). Encourage each other to keep taking another step forward. God is at work even when we struggle to understand this. Are we okay with not understanding why everything happens?

Theses steps may sound too simplistic, but perhaps they aren’t as easy as they sound. Regardless, how do you process tragedy? What keeps you getting up every morning and continuing on? Do we understand what the Bible teaches about suffering?

Let us not become weary in doing good… (Galatians 6:9a)

Leonard Klassen

comments powered by Disqus