Thursday, July 20, 2017

When Tragedy Strikes

There's been a lot of tragedy in the last couple of years.  Tragedy can affect people differently.  For me, I get very depressed (which I think is normal anyway).  I tend to isolate myself and even at times get angry with God.  I ask Him "Why is this happening?  Why did you do this to (fill in name)?  Why are you doing this to me?"  Of course, I don't realize until later it doesn't really matter how it affects me; I mean it does, but it's really how it affects those closest to the people that the tragedy happens to.  Last night, I found out a friend died.  A couple days ago on the radio, they said there have been 20 teen suicides so far this year in my state alone.  Earlier this year, I found out a girl I knew (though I wasn't really close to) committed suicide.  Also earlier this year, a couple of dear friends lost their child.  Don't even get me started on last year's tragedies (which I have written about).  Tragedy affects people differently.  For some, they cling closer to Christ, while others walk further away from Him.  When they walk away from Him, this is a tragedy in itself.  I have seen this with people I looked up to, and people I'm close to.  It breaks my heart on top of the original tragedy.

What causes a person to walk away from Christ during a tragedy?  Well, I think this is different for everyone to be honest.  But I think the thing they all have in common is they're angry.  They think, "What kind of God would allow such a thing to happen?  Why would He do this to me?  If He's such a good and loving God, why did He allow this to happen?"  Sometimes, they may not even realize they are walking away from Him.  I've seen both of these things happen to people, and I've even experienced some of it myself.  It's easy to walk away from Christ during a tragedy.  It's easy to walk away from someone you can't see or hear an audible voice from.  It's easy to walk away when you cry out to someone, and all you hear is dead silence.  It's easy to put a mask on, pretending to be okay and be someone you're really not.  But when you're on your own at the end of the day, and you can't wear that mask anymore, you realize just how lonely you truly are.

I have very severe anxiety, I worry about everything!  My top anxieties, are about the people I care about.  I can't save the world, as much as I would like to.  I can't be a mother to the world - I can't protect everyone from bad choices or from pain.  Some say it's a control issue, and maybe it is, I don't know.

Some people walk away from Christ during tragedies, but there is another option:

We can draw closer to Christ during a tragedy.  He wants to be there for us in our time of need.

 "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest."              

- Matthew 11:28

This is a difficult thing to do, believe me I know it is.  It's hard to give your burdens to someone you sometimes wonder if they even exist, or think "He was just a good man."  It's hard to rest when you have so much going on and you wonder "How could He do such a thing to me?"

He feels our pain.  He's gone through the same things we go through.  He's lost people He loved (such as His dear friend Lazarus - and even His earthly father (though there isn't much about that in Scripture)).  The Father watched His only Son die a brutal death.  He has seen people He loved and loves suffer and die.  Could He stop it from happening?  Technically, yes.  We don't always know why He does the things He does.

"For my thoughts are nothing like your thoughts." says the LORD.  "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine."

- Isaiah 55:8

Sometimes later down the road in life, God reveals to us why He allowed certain things to happen in our lives.  I know He has done that to me in certain situations.  But sometimes, we don't find out what that reason is until we die ourselves.  Sometimes what He allows seems absolutely cruel; as if when tragedy happens, He's punishing us, or even imagine He's laughing at us.  But this isn't the case.  Jesus weeps with us.  When Lazarus died, Jesus wept.  Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He knew the hardened hearts people had for Him and the suffering they faced.  Jesus had compassion on the hurting and sick.

"You keep track of all my sorrows.  You have collected all my tears in your bottle.  You have recorded each one in your book."

- Psalm 56:8

Whether we feel it or not, Christ has compassion for us when we are hurting.  He sees our broken and bleeding hearts.  We do not go through tragedies on our own, but it is our choice whether to lean on Christ through them or not.  We are not strong enough to carry our burdens on our own.  Why do you think there's so many suicides all over the world?  Because we are stubborn and think, "I can carry this myself.  I don't need anyone to help me."  Such stupid sheep we are.  We are dumb sheep and as stubborn as an ass. We go our own ways, as if we can be our own Superman.  If no one is going to save us, then we will just help ourselves.  But we can only do so much on our own, until we throw our hands in the air and say "That's it!  I'm done!  No more!"  When this happens, two things happen.  They either realize how much they need Christ's help and fall to His feet, or they destroy themselves.  Christ does not want us to destroy the life He gave us, no, He wants us to cling to His feet so He can help us through our tragedies and hardships.  Believe me, I am no saint, I am nowhere near doing this all the time.  I am preaching to myself just as much as I am preaching to you.  We have got to cling to Jesus.  Only He can truly save us.

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