That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NLT
Every time there is a tragedy, it’s normal for us to wonder, “If God is good, how could He have let this happen?”
Some tragedies are so significant that they make national or international news. They get our attention for a day or two, and we soon forget. As the media feeds us the gruesome details, we quickly move through the stages of grief, shock, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It seems there is constantly a tragedy to mourn.
As a first responder and a crisis chaplain, I was often one of the first to arrive at a tragic scene. Car wrecks, house fires, and various medical emergencies were all in a day’s work. Every day people are suffering and experiencing personal tragedy. Unfortunately, most of the world seems unaware of the suffering that is immediately around us. We are oblivious until it comes knocking on our door.
When tragedy strikes, we naturally wonder how God could allow it. We believe God is all-powerful and loving, but tragedy often shakes that belief. We sometimes forget that sin entered the world with Adam, and the world has been in turmoil since that day. Humankind is separate from God and His goodness because of disobedience. Adam chose to be like God and to know good from evil. We see both every day.
The disciples of Jesus were promised to suffer. Still, the guaranteed reward is infinitely better than any suffering we endure in this life (John 16:33). Even in the darkest days, we can trust that God is working well in what the enemy intends for evil.
The beauty is that God is good, and He is very present. God is at work, and He is calling people to Himself. The purpose of life and our ultimate destiny is to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. Tragedy reminds us that this world is not our home and our hearts long for the day that Jesus comes to end all suffering. Through Jesus, we have access to the Father and hope for our future in this life and the world to come!
- When have you seen God make something good from something wrong?
- How can you be a force for good when tragedy strikes your community?
Healthy Responses to Tragedy
Take time to grieve
Reach out to God for help
Ask others for help
Give to others in need
Empower yourself through self-care
Don’t lose sight of the blessings in your life
Yield your desire to get even
10 Verses on How to Respond to Tragedy
1. Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. – Hebrews 11:1 NLT
2. For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
3. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
4. He will swallow up death forever! The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears. He will remove forever all insults and mockery against His land and people. The LORD has spoken! – Isaiah 25:8 NLT
5. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 NLT
6. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 NLT
7. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. – Revelation 21:4 NLT
8. Please listen and answer me, for I am overwhelmed by my troubles. – Psalm 55:2 NLT
9. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with His comfort through Christ. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NLT
10. "Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. 2 There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am." – John 14:1-3 NLT