How To Respond When Tragedy Strikes

west-texas-fertilyzer-explosion-17april2013

There are few falsehoods so difficult to overcome than the idea that bad things do not happen to good people. The whole book of Job is based on the question of why such terrible things happen, especially to people who are doing everything right. The temptation is to think, as Job’s friends were sure of, that it is a sign that God is not pleased with you. You must have done something wrong so that these tragedies are visiting you.

In Luke 13:4,5 we read:

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We live in an evil, corrupt world and such things are bound to happen at some point. It’s not that we shouldn’t care if it happens but that we must accept that we do not have control. I believe Jesus teaches us here that the proper way for us to respond is to take care of what we do have control over–namely, reconciling ourselves to God and putting our trust in Him. We shouldn’t go through life thinking that these can’t happen to us, or shouldn’t happen to us because we are good. Jesus taught us to pray for daily bread–every day. All we can do is seek God’s calling for us today and leave the rest of it in God’s hands.

At the end of the dialogue in Job God come into the conversation and pelts Job with 64 questions. After He asked these rhetorical questions Job is left with the clear lesson that there is so much he takes for granted without worry because he can’t possibly understand everything. God also shows him that his limited understanding also applies to the things that are tragic, horrific, and unimaginable. God is telling Job, and us, that behind all of the complexity and confusion God has the power to heal the brokenness and bring something beautiful and glorious out of it. He will not allow anything to rob Him of the glory that is His.

As we watch what happens in West, TX and elsewhere let us take advantage of the opportunity to repent and trust in the Lord while we still can.

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