We live in a tragic world, no surprise. It’s ruled by darkness and 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.
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. I consider my life a blessed one. Even, so, it hasn’t been without some challenges. It’s in the moments of difficulty, what we do with it, how we respond that truly reveals the strength of our character, depth of our faith and resilience of our joy.
If you believe, as I do, that God has a design and course for your life and the lives of those you touch, if you sincerely believe that, 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? I think it’s important to remember the impact the witness of our response has on others. How you carry yourself in times of plenty and times of want matters. It impacts your life and shapes your perspective. It impacts those who witness how you walk and talk through this world, and it, most importantly, matters to God.
When I was 14 years old, I was blessed to have the opportunity to spend the summer with my uncle and his family in Pennsylvania. My uncle was a Godly man, a missionary, preacher and exuberant evangelist. He lived an exceedingly joyful, Spirit filled life and was unafraid to share that joy and the hope that only exists abiding fully in Jesus Christ. However, his life wasn’t one without immense pain, hardship and tragedy. So, I asked him, “how do you do that, in spite of all you’ve endured and witnessed?” His response forever changed my perspective. He said, “too often people are asking the wrong question. They ask, why me Lord, why me? The questions to ask is, why not me Lord, why not me?”
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.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
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 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. Have a blessed, joyous, Spirit filled weekend!
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