Comfort in the Times of Tragedy

We awoke Tuesday morning to the news of the devastating tornadoes that swept through Middle Tennessee very early that morning and left incredible destruction in its wake. And sadly the loss of many lives.

At least 25 people were killed. And dozens are still missing. Many are displaced because their homes were destroyed. Particularly heart breaking was the news of a young couple, Josh and Erin Kimberlin and their little boy Sawyer who died as a result

Another familyMatt and Macy Collinsand their infant daughter suffered severe injuries when the storm destroyed their home and also took the life of the daughter, Hattie.

We lived in Middle Tennessee for 11 years and know many people in the area where the tornadoes struck. And we’re friends with those who lost loved ones. It hurts to hear this terrible news.

My friend, Wilson Adams, author of Courageous Living Books, who lives in Murfreesboro, succinctly expressed my feelings when he posted on facebook, “I hate death. Although death comes to all, it’s the timing that hurts the most.”

“And…the seeming randomness.”
“And…the unanswered questions.”

Why? We cry in our pain. Why me? Why them? Why now? Why this way?

Yes, like Job of old, who experienced the death of his children, the loss of his wealth, and the physical affliction coupled with the mental and emotional pain, we search for answers.

It all seems so senseless.

Yes, I hate death. I hate the sorrow it brings. I hate the emptiness it leaves. I hate the relationships it ruptures. I hate the burden it bears.

Yet, death ever lurks. Looking over our shoulder. Sneering. Leering. Waiting to strike. Leaving its hurt. And about the time we’ve had some healing, death invades our homes and hearts again.

These kind of tragedies shake us up. And remind us of the reality of the fallen world in which we live. That our time here is temporary. And life is transitory.

I agree that the unexpectedness and timing of death is often the most unnerving, unsettling, and upsetting. But, Wilson was right when he wrote, “In times of tragedy, we must turn toward God, not run from Him.”

The Bible encourages when we feel hurt and experience suffering to look to the “Father of mercies.” He is “the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:4). God knows our hurt. Hears our cry. And feels our pain. “Cast all your care upon Him for He cares for you” (1 Pet. 5:7).

A friend commented to me last night how these tragedies often bring out the best in people. Volunteers are descending on Middle Tennessee to help with the cleanup. Go Fund Me accounts are being set up to help with medical, living and housing expenses. As well as funerals.

It’s an opportunity for us to model the character of Christ. While we can’t remove the hurt, we can offer a helping hand. Show compassion. And express our sympathy.

We all can’t do everything. But we all can do something. We can pray. Pray for the families mourning the death of loved ones. Pray for those who are recovering from physical injuries. Pray for those who lost homes, businesses and all their material possessions.

These tragic tornadoes are an abrupt reminder that life is fragile. And none of us are exempt from sickness, suffering and sorrow. Pain is a part of life.

And the specter of death ever looms, lurking over our homes. And whether is comes calmly. Or strikes suddenly and catastrophically. It will come. Sooner. Or later.

Indeed, these experiences can either make us bitter or better. The choice is yours.

In the meantime, comfort and encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

If you want to help with the funeral expenses for the Kimberlin family, click this Go Fund Me link. 

To help the Collins family with living, rebuilding, and funeral expenses, click here. 

To help people in Cookeville and Putman County, the Bank of Putman County has set up a disaster relief fund to help impacted families.  100% of the donations will go toward those who are in need.  Click here for info.

6 Comments

Filed under compassion

6 responses to “Comfort in the Times of Tragedy

  1. Marva West

     The go fund me for the Collins family takes me to the Kimberlin link. Do you have the correct link to assist them?

    In Christian love, Marva West

    >

  2. It has been said that “death is an old person’s friend.” Indeed my Grandma lived to be 100 and in her final days she asked me. “Linda I have been a good girl all my life, why isn’t Jesus taking me home?” I replied that she was being born into eternal life, and she needed to help…like a new baby about to be born she was going to have to do her part. So I said…If it were me, I’d stop eating. And she said. “Oh Linda, that’s easy for you. You don’t even like food. We both laughed. In the days that followed, she stopped eating every chance she could. Sometimes the care home people force fed her with a machine. So when my sister or I visited, she’d ask us to eat her food on the tray, to fool the staff. She passed into eternity a few months later and those still living here and now celebrated her life.

    The sudden death of a loved one or a little child isn’t as easy to welcome. Eternal life is not so easy to understand or welcome when we like and love the things that comfort us in the here and now. Those without or little faith in Jesus live in fear and hatred of death. It takes courage, trust and lots of loving support from loved ones in the here and now to face death –trusting that death is not the end. Death is just the beginning of the rest of our lives and Jesus gives us that blessed assurance. For if the dead do not rise, neither did Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:16)

    So thank you Ken for providing “go fund me” links so that people have an opportunity to show the loving support of Jesus people to comfort those who are suffering from the losses they have experienced. May today be another new beginning for them.

  3. Patricia Osheim

    You have said very eloquently things that are on all of our hearts. Thank you for your comfort and tender heartedness. Bless you. Patricia Osheim

  4. Prayers for all those affected

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