Handling Tragedy, Part 2
I’ve been and am going to be writing about how to handle tragedy . . . at least from my perspective and from what I’ve learned. Accepting a diagnosis of colon cancer at 35 isn’t easy and going through the treatment and putting life on hold is even harder. I’ve learned a thing or two along the way, not because I’m such an astute pupil but because God is such a patient and merciful teacher. Anyway, enough rambling, here’s point two.
#2 Keep a right perspective.
This is a tough one. We are such self-absorbed, earthly creatures that establishing and keeping a perspective beyond ourselves often proves very challenging. That’s nothing new. You will struggle with it so just accept that. But we need something to strive for.
First, remember that God’s ways are not our ways. Too often we try to figure out what God’s doing or make sense of what He’s doing based on our finite, human economy of right and wrong, logical and illogical, just and unjust. God operates on a different plane than us. His ways are far above our ways and beyond knowing. We will never figure Him out and attempts to make sense of His ways often lead to frustration.
This is where faith comes in. We must rely on what we know rather than what we feel. Look, tragedy doesn’t make sense and seems really unfair. Read the psalms. David struggled with this same thing. “Lord, why am I, a righteous person, suffering here when my enemies, wicked as they are, are prospering?” Does that make sense? Does it seem fair? No and no. Absolutely not! But our Bible tells us God is fair, He is just, everything He does is good and right, and He does love us with an everlasting love. That’s what we have to focus on.
We may not understand what God’s doing and may have a ton of questions, but we must fall back on what His Word says and believe that, cling to it, claim it as our own. That’s the only way to keep sane during tragedy.
Second, remember this life is only temporary. We’re visiting this earth, just passing through, thank you. The tendency is to focus on the here and now, how our suffering is affecting our life now and how it will in the future. We must remember we are eternal beings and our existence in the next life will be so much better than our existence in the here and now. Yes, our suffering may be extreme and very painful and hurtful but if we keep an eternal perspective, that our suffering in this earth is nothing compared to the eternal glory awaiting us, it does make the load a little lighter to carry.
It won’t last forever. And that’s a promise.
Now, of course, all this won’t erase the pain of tragedy. It’s still very real, but keeping a right perspective will help to keep the focus on God and not ourselves.
Tomorrow, point 3, focus in God’s promises.