We live in a world where there is no shortage of trouble. And that trouble often presents a great challenge to our faith.
Perhaps it’s a natural disaster, such as the recent floods in Colorado, or the tornados just a few nights ago in the mid-west. Perhaps it’s an accident, such as the church bus that crashed in Tennessee last week, killing eight and injuring 14 people.
Then there is the almost unspeakable violence both near and far, such as the shooting in the US Navy yard recently, the slaughter at the mall in Nairobi, Kenya, or the systematic killing of Christians in certain parts of the world.
Or perhaps it is your own private trauma, such as for Janet and Paul who have been trying for years to have a baby. Finally, a few months into her pregnancy, they discover their prayed-for child has life-threatening birth defects. Or for Brian, whose father, a pastor, is fatally shot by a parishioner while in his office at church. Or for Evelyn, the widow whose life savings is stolen by her dead husband’s business partner, and is now left with nothing.
No, there is no shortage of trouble in our world. And when trouble happens, it’s normal to ask questions: Why me? Did I do something to let this happen? Couldn’t God have kept this from happening? Where is He now? In the face of unexpected tragedy, the challenge to faith is real.
When trouble comes, here are three things to do:
- Be human. Not that you could be anything else even if you tried. Even God doesn’t expect you to be anything else. Human beings are finite, fragile, and have feelings. And that’s OK.
- Get some help. Friends, family, and church family are never more important than when you are facing problems. Just having someone there can make a difference.
- Pray. God has a miraculous way of providing strength when you have none of your own left, and of bringing meaning out of otherwise senseless tragedy.
In the larger sense, the only way to ever make sense of trauma and tragedy is to put it in an eternal context. We live in a sinful, messed up world where bad things happen, even to good people. Sometimes those bad things happen especially to good people, as a result of the very real evil in our world. Some of our questions will only be answered not here, but in the world to come.
In the meantime, know that God is with you. He is big enough to handle all your questions, and He will never leave you.
And we do have hope, knowing that this world is not the end of the story. Jesus has promised to return and put an end to all trauma, suffering, violence, pain, and death.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Remember this: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5
Your Turn: How have difficult times affected your faith? What has helped you get through trauma or loss? Has God made a difference? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Tweetables: Why not share this post?!
- When faced with trauma, 1 Be human. 2 Get some help. 3 Pray. Tweet This.
- Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Rom 5:3,4. Tweet This.
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