When Tragedy Strikes
We all dread that middle of the night phone call from the Police, that knock at the door from a Military Chaplain, the screeching of tires you hear from the front porch or the call from the Doctors office with your test results. These invoke a sense of dread and anxiety unlike anything else we face.
Unexpected loss or tragedy strikes us all at some point in our lives. It’s our human nature that causes us to scramble for answers to the “why” questions these events bring us. But what do we do when the “why” cannot be answered; when we cannot find a reason to explain why we are going through this or why it happened to our loved one or us?
It just feels so much better if we know the answers. Its’ like our minds have a filing system and if we can insert the answer into the appropriate slot we can move on, because after all, that explains it.
But what do we do when there are no answers, we can find no reason it happened? We usually do one of two things. We blame God or we become internally tormented and bitter by the never ceasing unanswered questions. Neither is beneficial to us in the long run.
Different denominations and groups of believers have varying opinions when it comes to sickness, death and the sovereignty of God. I’m not even going to attempt to debate that one…nope….but whether you believe God causes or allows sickness and tragedy or that we should rebuke everything as the work of satan, I’ve found it really doesn’t matter. It.just.doesn’t.
In the end all that matters is HOW I respond and process the event not WHY it happened. We could argue the HOW or WHY all day long and get nowhere. But…if I simply look at what has happened and realize, “Ok, this has happened to me. I can’t change it. But I choose to move on. God may give me the answers I need someday and maybe they never come. But I’m CHOOSING to trust Him. I’ve listed a few things we can do to help us do that:
1. Choose to believe God is good. His character is revealed in His word. Jesus stated in John 10:10 AMP, ” The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). Jeremiah 29:11 NLT says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. We live in a fallen world that is under a curse. Bad things will happen to people. Period.
2. Choose to trust God. Trust is something we do when we DO NOT understand what is happening, when we DO NOT know the answers and when we CAN NOT see a way out of the pain. The definition of trust is “the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, and truth of someone. God’s word is full of examples to prove His character. 1Peter 5:7 says, “Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. He simply asks us to believe that prior to having the experience of it.
3. Choose to stop trying to figure everything out. When we don’t understand something our minds can get so focused on figuring it out that we lose sleep, and get an ulcer worrying about it!! Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “6 Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. 7 And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
That’s crazy good right there!!! If I will trust God, “peace which transcends all understanding shall mount guard over my heart and mind!!” Beautiful…in the end I will never understand everything or always know the why. But deciding to trust God will bring me into a peace that settles my mind and heart and allows me to move forward without answers. And that’s a very good thing…. Let’s chat…what have been your experiences with unanswered questions and trusting God?