The singer Tom Petty had plans to “spend more time with his grand-daughter” when a heart attack suddenly ended his days. Stephen Paddock shoots hundreds in Las Vegas, and over 200 people died in an earthquake in Mexico City. Tragedy strikes in many ways, perhaps a disaster, shooting, or a sudden illness. When tragedy strikes, where do you turn?
“The Roman centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant.” Tragedy struck the centurion’s house, and he was in need of help, not only for himself, but what of his servant? He couldn’t let him die, and all of his own money and doctors were of no use. He had nowhere else to turn. He had to take some drastic measures. He had to step up in hope and faith. He called out for Jesus.
“When Jesus was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, ‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed.’” Mixed feelings swirled in the centurion’s head and heart: he was Roman and Jesus was Jewish; he had money and power and Jesus was a peasant carpenter. But Jesus’ reputation preceded Him, and he recognized Jesus’ authority. He and his servant were facing tragedy and sore in need, and despite his unworthiness, he came to Jesus in hope and faith and asked Him to intervene, even from a distance.
“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.’ And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.” The centurion had hope and faith in a time of tragedy, and Jesus marveled. When tragedy strikes, we cry out to something bigger, someone greater, a higher authority – Jesus. Cry out to Jesus today in the midst of your tragedy. Will He marvel at your faith? He will comfort and strengthen you and give you grace and mercy to endure.