Monday, August 24, 2015

When tragedy strikes.....

My pastor gave a great sermon yesterday on fleeing from temptation, but in the middle of his talk he spoke about a personal tragedy that had struck his family just last week. His three year old was rushed to the hospital with a fever of over 105 and the doctors said she may have cancer.  It took 36 hours for the test results to return with a negative diagnosis, but during those 36 hours and while his precious little girl was undergoing all sorts of painful tests, he began to question God. 

How we as Christians react when tragedy comes our way is one of the best indications of our faith and our walk with God. There are usually two different ways believers react:

1. Why, God, Why? Why is this happening to me? I'm a good person. I go to church, pray, read my Bible, give to charities, volunteer for various ministries, even go on mission trips!! 


2. I must have done something wrong. Surely God is punishing me.

Both reactions have ONE answer... and that answer is Jesus.

 Jesus never sinned. He was flawless in all his doings, thoughts, and actions. Can you imagine? I can't. Yet He was perfect in every way. If anyone deserved to live a life of comfort and happiness without suffering, it was Him. Yet, His 33 years here on earth were nothing but suffering. In fact, I venture to say He suffered more than any other human being who ever existed.  So, the answer to the first question is that if Jesus suffered so much and He was perfect, why should we expect not to suffer in our lives? In fact Jesus Himself said that we would suffer

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

And the Apostle Paul said

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:17
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, Phill 1:29
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  Phil 3:10

Yet, the answer to the second question is Jesus also. God does not punish us for our sins, our mistakes, our flaws. Why?  Because Jesus already paid the penalty for ALL of them, Past, Present and Future.!!

So, what is our correct response when tragedy strikes?
Let's take our example from the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in Daniel 3.  Upon their refusal to bow down to the King's image, King Neb threatened to toss them into a fiery furnace.  Talk about a tragedy!   I LOVE their response.

If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

Our response?  Pray, cast your cares upon God. Trust Him, Honor Him, Love Him, and serve Him, no matter whether He heals that cancer or saves that loved one or gets you that job or restores your marriage or brings you a spouse.  No matter if you get tossed into a fiery furnace or are threatened with losing your head.  God is able to do all things and often does perform miracles in our lives and delivers us, but even if He doesn't, we trust Him.  And just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we will find that Jesus is right there in the fiery furnace with us.



  1. Mon 24th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Another excellent post ... and one we need to hear more often !
    I love how Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answer the King .... "our God IS able to deliver us ..." , " ... but even IF He does not .... we will NOT serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
    No, we are not always delivered from our troubles/pains/tragedies ... but God has promised to NEVER leave us nor forsake us. He WILL walk "through" those ordeals with us ... we are NEVER alone ! (Who else could promise that to us ... absolutely no one else ... only our loving Father !)
    At my Church, one of the statements a former Pastor often quoted: "God IS good, ALL the time, NO matter what" !!!
    Often ... people want to announce how good God is when "everything" is going well. But as soon as tragedies strike ... the trust and praises fall to the way-side. He IS good, ALL the time, NO matter what !
    Thanks, MaryLu ... for another timely word in due season.
    Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

  2. Fantastic reminder for a Monday morning. I've heard it said that if God did nothing else for us, but die on the cross for our sins that is enough. Salvation from sin, death and hell is the ultimate show of love no matter what may happen in our lives. Of course, this is always easy to say when life is going smoothly, but when something bad happens we're always so quick to blame God. Funny...but have you ever noticed that when something good happens to us we usually don't give Him credit at all, but usually pat ourselves on the back and say how much we deserve it? Oh, how fickle we humans are!

  3. Wow, what timing! I was just talking about this very thing with two close friends this morning! We're all going through intense trials right now, and it's so hard to be confident of God's love. We are begging Him for rescue! For miracles! For amazing supernatural outcomes! Not ... going through the fire not knowing how these critical, life-altering situations will turn out. We've had to remind each other that Jesus suffered all the time during His time on earth, the apostles & disciples all suffered, and we are not exempt from suffering, either. Thank you for your powerful message of confirmation.


  4. Preach it! You hit the nail on the head, my friend. Great post!

  5. Thank you for another beautiful post, MaryLu!!

    Amen!! Why should we, as sinners, not expect suffering - when He who is perfect, suffered so much?? Scripture tells us we will suffer, in fact - there are numerous verses stating that we should joy in our suffering. What that means to me is that I should find joy in that my suffering builds patience, confidence that God will bring me through, hope, boldness in telling others of what He has done for me, character, perseverance, helps mold me into the person I want to be (& more like Him). An article I read reinforced the point that because of the results - suffering is a way God shows His love to me; rather than a punishment for something I've done, or haven't done; nor is it a non-recognition of my faithfulness to Him.

    Love, prayers, & hugs - MaryLu!!

  6. Thank you, everyone! Like I said, this was mostly from my pastor... a message I needed to hear too! I know many of you are going through some really tough times... I sense the Lord saying, "Hang in there! I've got you!"

  7. MaryLu, thank you for your post on Tragedy. It's a great reminder that we need to trust God got in spite of circumstance.

    I just lost my seemingly healthy 21 yr son a couple of months ago. He passed away suddenly. I am learning thru my grief and anguish, all of us as believers should be equipped and prepared with faith enough to still lift up our hands to God in worship and praise, should tragedy occur like the sudden loss of a child, or even unto to death like those brave men in the furnace with Jesus.


    1. Chuck, I'm so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what you are going through. Your faith and devotion to God are examples to us all. I'm lifting up a prayer right now for you and your family. God Bless!