when tragedy strikes

Unsettling tragedy has struck. How do you deal with it? What do you do when the shock of tragedy strikes and disorients you? Your head is spinning, your legs are cut out from under you, you are a mouse in the maze and the cheese has been moved but you weren’t informed. Fear and panic grip you and your senses are scattered in the middle of the storm. Let me encourage you to grab on and trust in Christ.

Hebrews 8 tells us, “We have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. He is a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” Christ is the high priest of His people, better than any human priest of then or now. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven. A human priest would offer some gift, but Christ offers the best gift – Himself. “He has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” He mediates a new covenant, bought by His body and His blood. This is sure and eternal. Tragedies will come and go, but we hope in this: He shall reign forever, and we will be found in Him always.

What is Jesus doing while sitting on the throne today? In Romans 8:34 Paul tells us, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” He is pleading our case before the Father, reminding Him of our frailties and troubles, actively mediating for us through the tragedies we face. Likewise, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27).” In the middle of tragedy, it is encouraging to know Christ and the Holy Spirit are at work for us!

We grieve with those who grieve and mourn with those who mourn during tragic times. After the shock wears off, long days of hurt and loneliness will come. I’m not sure you ever fully recover from a tragedy, life never gets back to “normal.” The tragedy has occurred and today is the new normal. We press on and move forward, by His strength and power. Let us be like Job when tragedy strikes: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.