What is a Christian to Do in the Face of Tragedy

It seems that every week there is another tragedy. Whether it’s a storm that leaves people without food or shelter, some sort of terrorist attack, or a mad man on a killing spree, it happens every week now. Many Christians do not know how to respond when these things happen. Some even try to simply ignore these events so they don’t have to deal with them emotionally or spiritually. Is this how a Christian is respond to tragedy? What is a Christian to do in the face of such horror?

Weep

The Christian’s life is to be a life of joy, but this does not mean that we do not talk about the issues that are plaguing our world. Romans 12:15 tells us to “weep with those who weep.” It is God’s desire that the Christian feel sympathy for those who are hurting in the world. Beyond that, Christians should feel sorry for those who are experiencing pain and loss, because they are people created in the image of God. These types of tragedies remind us of the depravity and darkness that results from our sin. It reminds us just how wrong we are at our core. We cannot ignore those who are suffering. We cry with them.

Pray

Not only do we feel for those who are hurting, but we do something about those feelings - we pray. We all like to talk about the power of prayer when it comes to sickness or injury, but God is just as powerful in giving comfort and peace to those who are desperate for it. So let us pray for those who are suffering and ask that our gracious and loving God would give them comfort in their grief. Pray that somehow this terrible circumstance would lead to God being glorified. Pray for the salvation of those involved, that God would kindly draw them to Himself and that they would come to saving faith in Christ. Pray that if you were given opportunity, that you would be able to help these individuals.

Realize

It is in the face of tragedy that we truly understand the frailty of life. We realize that we only have so much time and we don’t know when that time will be up, so what are we going to do about it? Let us learn from these horrific and terrible situations and remember our purpose - be like Jesus. Tragedies can wake us up and remind us how vital it is that we stay on mission for our own spiritual well-being but also for others. We must herald the Gospel because we don’t know when our lives the lives of others will end. Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time because the days are evil.”

So as we all grieve the tragedies in Edmonton, Texas, Puerto Rico, and most recently Las Vegas, let us weep, pray, and realize the scope of our lives in comparison to eternity. Don’t just avoid these topics in fear of not knowing what to say or losing your happiness. Be real, Christian. Know that we live in a fallen world that needs the light of Gospel more than ever and need you to share that light. James 4:14, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

- Dean

Dean Lentini