During the past several years it seems like our country has faced tragedy after tragedy. With TV, internet, and cell phones, we’re bombarded daily with devastation and despair in the news. How many floods, mud slides, fires, hurricanes, snow and ice storms, tornados, earthquakes, shootings, plane crashes, pandemics, and freeway pileups can we take before we simply start to lose heart? We can debate endlessly about why these things happen, but the bottom line is simply this: God uses tragedy to draw us closer to Him.
Col. Mike Anderson looked at life with a unique spiritual insight. As you may recall, he was the second African American astronaut and one of those lost on the re-entry of the Columbia space shuttle in 2003. Col. Anderson was from Spokane Washington, where he attended a small Baptist church. Through the years, we have heard a great deal about this man’s rich spiritual heritage and abiding faith. God has used Mike’s story to touch thousands of lives. Prior to going on the Columbia mission, his pastor asked him if he was ever frightened about venturing into outer space. Mike said, “If something were to happen in space, I’m just that much closer to God… Instead of coming down, I’ll just be going up to my home in Glory.” That’s the kind of attitude and assurance God wants us to have. Mike’s death was a great loss to His family, friends, and this nation. His family has not only been comforted, but over the years, they have used this tragedy and their great faith to comfort others.
The Apostle Paul reminds us: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God… If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4, 6)
Tragedy is inevitable in our broken, sin-sick world. But God uses tragedy to draw us to Himself and He offers us comfort and encouragement. Once we have dealt with our hurt, He often brings someone across our path who also needs comforting. And because the Lord has equipped us, we can now comfort them. This is part of God’s strategy in maturing us and spreading the Good News of salvation. God is in the business of developing comforters of those who have struggled with pain or sorrow themselves and have emerged from that experience victorious. Let’s go out and comfort those who do not yet know of our loving and merciful God. Pass it on!
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:25-30
Personal Application: In what ways has the Lord comforted you following tragedy in the past? Who do you know right now who could benefit from the comfort you might offer them? Call or visit that person today and give them hope.
Jim Grassi, D. Min. and Wendell Morton
We cherish any verse in Scripture that reminds us to keep focused and intentional about evangelism and discipleship. “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5