Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tragedy's Teachers

Photo Image Courtesy of 123RF

Though the Lord gave you adversity for food
    and suffering for drink,
he will still be with you to teach you.
    You will see your teacher with your own eyes.
~ Isaiah 30:20, NLT ~

This day in American history will always be one that leaves a lump in our throats and a knot in our stomachs, especially if we are old enough to have lived through the chaos of 911.   Having been hit on our own soil for the first time since Pearl Harbor, and with such a tragic loss of so many innocents, Americans shook in horror on that sunny September day in 2001.  Life as we knew it stopped and no one was sure if or when it would ever be the same again.

Being the parent of a child with any sort of a serious health need was particularly stressful at that time.  Since planes were grounded and airports closed, just-in-time delivery of critical medications was seriously problematic.  Patients and medical professionals had to find new ways to creative problem-solve when it came to providing the life-saving care that we usually took for granted.

As so often happens when tragedy strikes, so many in this country cried out , "Why?".  Yet, what the Lord really wants us to ask at times like this is, "What?",  "What do you want to teach me through this, God?".  Because Yahweh alone has the ability to use everything for our good and His glory (see Romans 8:28), He can teach us things through tragedy that we would be unable to learn by any other means.  

So, what are some of the lessons that the crisis of 911 and other tragedies have taught us?

  • Our Lord is stable, dependable and true, even when everything else falls short.  When the world around us seems to be falling apart, and the systems we rely upon prove themselves to be not-so-reliable, a good scripture to read is Psalm 20:7.  "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."  Learning to trust in Him during the good times is critical to surviving the worst of times.
  • Be prepared at all times.  This is true on multiple levels.  Ironically, September is National Emergency Preparedness Month.  As 911 taught those of us raising children with special needs, we must have a plan or we bring undue suffering upon ourselves.  If you don't have an emergency strategy, today is a good reminder to work on getting one in place.  In addition, our faith always needs to be prepared.  Both the Apostle Peter as well as the Apostle Paul admonished believers to be prepared "in season and out of season" to serve, to share your faith, to admonish, to encourage, and to kindly offer a reason for the hope that lives within your heart.  If the early church was called to do this, we are no less called to do the same today.  Living a life of chronic challenges with our children, we are uniquely poised to obey those commands given through the forefathers of our faith.
  • Never take those we love for granted.  In our dailiness and burdens, we tend to forget that our lives are but a vapor.  (Job 7:7, Psalm 39:4, Psalm 89:7 are just a few reminders.)  There is a reason that our Lord tells us to never let the sun set on our anger, to number our days aright, to love one another as He has loved us.  It is for our benefit, lest we find ourselves with regret for the one who may never come back from work after leaving home one morning.  Even when death does not prematurely steal our loved ones away, there is great comfort in the closeness of those we love when the rest of the world is in utter chaos.
These are only a few of the teachers that emerge from tragedy.  There are countless more.  As you remember life's crises, see if you can recall what you learned from that situation.  This will prepare your mind for the next time something serious hits, as it is sure to do.  And it will turn you into the wise learner that the Lord intends for you to be.

PRAY:  Father, let me never forget the lessons You have graciously taught me through tragedy.  Most of all, remind me to share Your matchless hope with those who are left in shock and dismay by life's worst moments.  Thank You that You are faithful though the whole world may fall apart.

~ Barb Dittrich

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