In Times of Tragedy, You Can’t Hide What’s Inside

man-hiding-face-3

It’s been a tough week. West, Texas, the Boston Marathon, and countless lesser-recognized crises that didn’t even make the news. Honestly, it’s been a tough recent past. It seems that we are stringing together a series of really ugly tragedies. So much pain.

When everything is great, hypocrisy comes easy. But please notice how bad times have a way of bringing out whatever is inside us. This week, first responders in Boston are being heralded because they ran toward exploding bombs. Volunteer firefighters in Texas rushed to the scene only to lose their lives. Although there are only a few of these heroes, all over the country, whatever was inside of us came out.  Fear, anger, hatred; all of these are legitimate responses to the tragedies. Some run for cover while others run into the fire. Some get even more political and blame the “other” party. Some take advantage of the crisis and loot nearby stores. Whatever is inside comes out in times of crisis. You can’t hide it.

While you can’t hide what’s inside, I do believe you can change what is inside:

If your first response to bad news is giving up, pray for strength from God.

If your first response is revenge, pray for justice.

If your response is to cower in the corner or to panic or to lose control, pray for courage.

The problem with these responses? They offer no hope. No one is helped.

If your response is in any way anything other than hope-filled, God can help you.

The heroes of today are analogous to Christ. When humankind was in serious trouble, He came running, bringing hope. He was the First first responder.

Here is the bad news: another tragedy is on the way. Tomorrow or next week or next month something bad will happen. Make no mistake, the strong will rise to the occasion and make a positive difference. The weak will be controlled by the tragedy.

We need to be strong. God help us be strong in Your strength.

Tragedy and Bad Theology

Image

We are all sickened by the senseless murder of so many people, both children and adults, in Newtown, Connecticut. While we mourn, we also have to hear the dime store God “experts” share their not-so-humble opinions about why this devastation occurred. Facebook and blogs are filled with smug responses surrounding the crisis – ideas like: “What do you expect? We kicked God out of our schools.” and “that’s what we get for making prayer in school illegal”.

Please stop this kind of rhetoric. It is hurtful to the families of the victims, it gives God a bad name and it is unbiblical.

It is bad theology to say that we removed God from our schools. True, we disallowed public prayer, but rest assured, God was right there in the heart of every child who lost their life. God was there. How dare we think that we can control where God goes and doesn’t go. Reminder: He is omnipresent (everywhere at the same time). We cannot confine Him. God is close to the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18), no force in nature can stop that. The arrogance that assumes we can answer such mysteries is unfathomable.  As one friend, Eddie Robbins said, “If folks believe that, how do they explain so many shootings in churches?” Humble down, people of God. This is no time to grind an axe.

True, prayer is not allowed in most public arena today, but I guarantee you that there was a ton of prayer going up in Sandy Hook Elementary School today. God was there, He was with every victim and He is with all of the survivors. To believe otherwise is heartless and in conflict with the nature of God.

We need to refute bad theology. People need to stop saying hurtful things to try to prove a point. But now is the time for mourning and praying, not arguing.