During Wednesday night’s men’s group, our discussion revolved around tragedy. This discussion was intense and very enlightening. Obviously we live in a tragic world, no surprise. It has been tragic since sin entered it through Adam and Eve’s disobedience. There is illness, injury, death, ruination, depredation, starvation, corruption, murder, assault and evil. People are attacked by hardship. For some it happens more often than others and more severely than others. These hardships and trials are never enjoyable, seldom fair and most likely leave us asking, “why me, Lord?!”
II Corinthians 12:7-10 (NKJV) 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As we discussed the topic of ‘why tragedy’, things began to take on a new complexion. I, myself have been relatively untouched by significant tragedy. I’ve suffered some health issues, the loss of love ones, financial struggles and the like, but little in comparison to others I know. However, I am the product of a family racked with tragedy. Had it not been for the tragic events of the generation before me, I, Scott Pace would not exist. My mother’s life would not have followed the course it did and I would not be here today. That is a sobering realization… because people suffered, their lives followed a course that would have been so very different than it could have been and consequently everything that followed would be completely different. Think about that for a moment.
If you believe, as I believe,that God has a design and course for your life and the lives of those you touch, then that changes the complexion, doesn’t it? Difficulty, hardship and tragedy shape who we are, how we think, alter our perspectives, lead us down unexpected paths and alternate choices. How many people have come to the salvation of Jesus Christ through tragedy?
My mother and her siblings experienced an immeasurably horrific, tragic youth. One of the many affects resulting from this suffering was my uncle being sent to prison when he was very young. He found Christ in prison. After his release, he earned his GED and then went to seminary. He became a missionary, doing God’s work, saving lives. I don’t doubt that God used my uncle and his tragedy to save hundreds if not thousands. My uncle suffered, others suffered, it was tragic. However, without that tragedy, he wouldn’t have become the man God used to reach so many. Had he not gone to prison, he may not have come to Christ. Tragedy is awful, but sometimes we don’t realize the good, even the great God may pull from it.
I am not trying to diminish people’s suffering. I long for the day when suffering is a thing of the past. I am not trying to marginalize evil deeds or excuse those who do them. I am simply trying to illustrate the fact that not one of us can see the whole picture, know the grand design. God is at work in ways we cannot not even remotely comprehend, for reasons we can scarcely imagine. There is a ripple effect from the lives of each and every man, woman and child that carries for eternity. The overwhelming majority of which we will never actually be aware of. We must have faith, especially in times of trial, despair and tragedy that it is in God’s hands. We don’t necessarily have to know why, simply trust, whether we are witness to it or not, that He can and will draw from tragedy, Glory. Thank you and God Bless You
John 16:33 (NKJV) 33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy,