Tragedy 1: The First Step
Before you can heal, you have to feel.
What now? It’s the big question that we all ask when we find ourselves in a shadowland of tragedy. There’s no textbook for it, at least not one we’ve read. We don’t know where to go. And we don’t know what to do next. How are we supposed to respond when a tragedy strikes? Some of Jesus’ closest friends faced the same questions when their brother died. When Jesus comes to them in the middle of their tragedy, we see Him respond in a way that is both surprising and incredibly helpful as we begin to move forward in tragedy.
Tragedy 2: Leave Me Alone
When it comes to tragedy, be a friend not a fixer.
Ruth 1:16-21; Ruth 4:14-15
Have you ever broken a bone? Had surgery? Needed physical therapy? If so, you know that recovery often takes longer that we think it will. The same is true as someone close to us recovers from a tragedy. It takes a lot longer than we think. And most of the time, we aren’t sure how to respond. What should we say? How should we act? What can we do when nothing seems to help? In the story of Naomi and Ruth, we find a beautiful example of how one friend helps another make it to the other side of tragedy. And, in their story, we find that friends, not fixers, can be just what God uses to heal those walking through a tragic struggle.
Tragedy 3: Drop the Anchor
Nothing can pull you from the God who loves you.
So, where is God when tragedy strikes? It’s a question you can’t help asking. Facing a tragedy, big or small, can shake anyone’s faith. Suddenly, nothing is certain. Nothing feels safe. And we wonder where God is and whether He has abandoned us in a tragedy. As the confusion of tragedy swirls around us, we all need something to hold on to. An anchor. In the words of the Apostle Paul, spoken from the middle of a tragic situation, we learn a truth that can steady us. And if we hold on tight, we may find that it’s just what we need to help us move forward.