Comfort in Tragedy

 

My heart, like yours I am sure, grieves for those families who lost loved ones in the senseless killing in Newtown Ct.  As I watched the news, and saw pictures of parents going to pick up their children only to discover with horror that their child’s life was lost, I wept for them and I thanked the Lord that I could hug my children tonight.

But what about those families… what do they do now?  That will all depend upon what they believe about God.  Consider please.

#1) The Human Reasoning   Job  2:13

What do you say to people who accuse God when something happens…  that is a valid question.. we cannot pretend that it never crosses our minds…  When tragic things happen… it is within us to try and figure it out…

When Job’s three friends arrive on the scene… the first thing that I see is that they stayed there with Job for 7 days to comfort Job  (2:13), they stayed with him… they didn’t talk, they just wanted to be with their friend.   When they begin to speak, they begin to explain in their human reasoning what is going on in Job’s life… in other words… they are going to tell Job what God is doing.

In other words, their human reasoning of trying to explain the mind of God had the possibility of being true, but were not a comfort.   And there is a great danger in our human reasoning… even though the statements that Job’s friends make, may be true to some degree or another… you and I don’t know that… we don’t know the mind of God…. And our human reasoning is finite.

(Isaiah 55:8)  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

When tragedy happens, and we don’t understand it…  when we spend our time pursuing answers, we will be frustrated because so often, there are no answers that could satisfy.  If you spend time in the book o fJob, you will see that they were not comforting Job, they were trying to guess what God was doing.  If you could give an answer to Job… if you could say… God says this is the answer….  Do you think that would satisfy Job… do you think that he would be content with knowing one of these answers?  Would you be?

You see… when terrible things happen to us… or to those around us… the answers that we have available to us never satisfy us or them… and the reason is because we are asking the wrong question.

#2) The Heavenly Reply

Many times in these tragedies,  answers will never satisfy.  There is not one person involved in this CT.. shooting who could give an answer that could justify the actions of that man.

The question is why don’t these answers satisfy the heart… in other words, when something happens and we are asking the question why… how come we cannot turn to a passage and see it in black and white and have God say… this is the answer.

The question is not why do bad things happen to good people… because we can never answer that question to a way that is satisfying to the soul…  The question is NOT “WHY did this happen” … the question should be… “WHAT do I do now”.

This happened… what do I do now… we spend so much time trying to debate “Why God”… “why did God” …  “How could God”. And the truth is that the answer to those questions are not for us to know… we will never really know why on this side of heaven the full explanation for the things that God allowed in our lives.

You and I need to come to the conclusion today that for whatever reason it happened…  it has happened.  How do we respond to tragedy…  it is not why did God allow it… it is about how we respond to it.  it is not about the reason… it is about the response.

There are people who will never come to peace in their heart over the “reason”…   I need a reason why I lost my spouse… I need a reason why I had that disease… I need a reason why someone did that to me as a child…  The answer is not in the reason, it is in the response.   And I want you to remember something about tragedies… and I heard this from someone very well acquainted with them…  this man said…  “I realized that I could not control the problem, but I could control my response”.

So what are heavenly responses…  what do you do when life is troubling?

#1) Trust in God’s Character.  Job 13:22…

Come to God by faith in the midst of the difficulties and trust in the character of God

I see this because God never defends Himself… he never gave an explanation, God never pulls out the big three answers that we might turn to….  He didn’t tell Job that Satan needed proving… or there was something lacking in Job’s life… you see… Job didn’t really need an answer “WHY”… what he needed was the comfort of God.

When Job acknowledged this… everything changed for him… secondly

#2) Draw close to God.

You get beyond the “WHY” phase…  I don’t know why…  all I know is that I trust in your character and I want to draw close to you.

 Hebrews 13:5… I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. – he is with you in the midst of the trial, draw close to Him.   For God’s answer is not an answer or a proposition… God’s answer in trials is “himself”.

He revealed Himself to Job… the answer to your problem is not the reason that it happened… because if you found out the reason, it would not satisfy you…  If God came to you and said “let me explain all that happened to you.”

The answer to “WHY” never satisfies, only the God of all comfort can get you through that problem.    Illustration:   someone said… That joy does not come through the absence of trials but through the presence of God.     You see, the heavenly response in trials is to trust in God’s character, and draw closer to Him.   But notice something else about Job please… and we see…

#3)  Humility Revealed….  42:1-6

I want you to understand something… as you and I question and demand answers… we are wrong.   And what you see here is a man who now understands who he is in this whole plan of God…  that his trust and faith are in the creator and sustainer of all things… and that it is God’s character that he trusts in.   His goodness and faithfulness to us.

verse 3 – I know I said things that I don’t understand…   And the only right response to get peace is to come before God and admit to Him that you don’t know everything and that you said some things that you should not have said…  God you had a reason and I don’t understand it, but I trust in your character… and that is reason enough.

What did Jesus say in John 14:1… about the troubled heart?  so what is the answer?  Trust in the character of God.   Why do Bad things happen to good people?   Can I say this morning… That is the wrong question because there are too many answers to it that we cannot furnish.

The reason is not important…. It happened… the response is the right question, what do I do I do  now… trust in him… draw close to him.    Where is God in the midst of all this…   He is where He has always been… and you can go to him.

I read this testimony of a Missionary family who lost their 4 year old daughter….  Rather than passing the hardships of life off as a waste, we must understand that they are key ingredients in the recipe that God has for our life.

My heart breaks for those families… my prayer right now is for the pastors of those bible believing churches in the area that they may be able to share the God of all Comfort with those who are in desperate need.

Do I have all the answers?  No, but I can still cling to a God who loves, cares and offers comfort to a world that is “troubled” John 14:1

Comments are welcomed.

 

Posted in encouragement, Life, ministry, Uncategorized on December 14, 2012.

2 Responses

  1. Dawn The JOY Lady says:

    Thank you, Pastor. As we weep and pray for these families so close to our home, I am thankful for a Pastor that guides and directs us to the Saviour. May God comfort the families affected by this tragedy and us as we try to make sense of it all.

  2. Katrina says:

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, Comfort in Tragedy | Tri-State Baptist Church, Thompson Ct., thanks for the good read!
    — Katrina

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