Tragedies are, unfortunately, a part of every life and it is next to impossible to make sense of a tragedy.
Unable to forget or understand, we struggle to make sense of what is senseless. Who can justify what is unjustifiable? Unable to explain or justify, we move on with heavy hearts, broken, discouraged and yearn for answers. But the answers do not come this side of heaven.
In combining medicine, ministry, and teaching, I have relationships with many sick, and afflicted, desperate, dying, and lonely people. I have been present with many people as they exhaled their last breath and conducted more funerals than I ever thought possible. Through these experiences I have learned many lessons. Here are two lessons.
First, I cannot “help” everyone. Often the most I can do is to lend an ear and at times a little money to help meet a need. Loneliness is the greatest affliction of people. God did not make us to be alone, but loneliness permeates our culture.
The second lesson is that each one will face injustice, brutality, senseless events, and lonely times of life. In every life, there will be the great successes, joy and adversity, and valleys of despair with the shadow of death following.
When tragedy struck Naomi (death claimed her two sons and husband) she said, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?” (Ruth 1:20-21) “Mara” means “bitter” – Naomi was bitter. How she suffered!
Naomi serves as an example to learn from. In her family she was content, happy, in fact that was her identity, her family was who she was and when her family was taken from her, she became discouraged, left without purpose and identity. Naomi became bitter, she lost her purpose and reason for living. Until…
If you believe God has mistreated, left you alone or hates you – those feelings are understandable. God gave us feelings to help us cope and even survive. Resist the idea to think God hates you or is punishing you. He sent His Son to give you life, God does not condemn people, God saves people.
Through the tragedy in Naomi’s life God provided for her future, a new identity, and salvation. Naomi did not and could not see the work of God moving in her life (and neither do we see God moving in our lives). But God, who is great in love, grace and mercy is touched by our own weaknesses, sickness, and loneliness, (Hebrews 4:15). God feels your pain.
We are not told how long Naomi felt such bitterness but we read that one-day new opportunities were rising from her tragedy.
In Ruth 2:19 that day came for Naomi. Out of tragedy came an opportunity. Out of death came hope, love and life. What God did for Naomi, He is doing for you.
If you do not know the story of Naomi and Ruth, please read it. If you do not have a Bible, go online and search for and read the book of Ruth.
Tragedies always bring opportunities. We may not see the opportunity because all that is visible is the tragedy, but God brings something good out of every event – even your tragedy and that is His promise to us (Romans 8:28).