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A Series of Tragedies

How much tragedy can a human being experience before cracking?  I’m sure we all have heard stories of what certain individuals have encountered, even experienced in life. But until you go through these experiences, at least some of them, you don’t know how much you can endure. Today’s blog explores this aspect, but from the personal experiential side.


Over the Labor Day weekend, my wife and I experienced the beginning of a number of tragedies that have occurred in two week increments. On that very difficult day for us, September 8, we lost our little dog, actually Brianna’s dog of just four and half years. Some infection entered her body and moved quickly within a few weeks to her brain. It was not detected until it was too late.  All those emotions that were connected with Brianna erupted again. It was challenging for two reasons:  1) What purpose did this serve? Was it just another attack from the enemy?  2)  Why was the dog permitted to suffer for a number of days, before nature finally gave up the struggle?  The suffering we go through in this life can only be understand as we recognize that our loving, compassionate God goes through it with us.  The prophet Isaiah clearly indicates that truth in chapter 63 verse 9: “in all their affliction He was afflicted”.  He felt the pain of that poor creature. If He notices when the sparrow falls, will He not notice the pain our pets’ experience? Can God be trusted? The wisdom of God is beyond comprehension! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out.” (Romans 11:33).


The second tragedy occurred on Sept. 22nd, when the ministry I’m involved with, lost the President from ‘unknown causes’ in his home. This was two weeks to the day after we lost Yuki, our dog. This blow no one was expecting—for who plans for things like this?  It has had a world-wide impact on many people, for he was an international evangelist.  Though God does not bring tragedy into people's lives, we recognize He permitted it without interferring to sustain Pastor Bill supernaturally from the consequences that occurred that morning. None the less, this tragedy brought grief to many, including another wave of grief to us.  What is going on?


Though we didn’t see it a pattern was beginning to take shape. Two weeks later on October 6th, tragedy struck yet a third time (actually 4th, but I’ll explain that shortly). The ironic nature of this tragedy was that it was tied to Brianna for it was the third death from her graduating class—a third alumnus, in just two and half years.  It was a motorcycle collision. I begin to wonder who is next and will it be on October the 20th? {Fortunately, the cycle broke.}


So how much tragedy can a human being take in one year?  It seems to be almost natural for the ‘psyche’ to shut off the emotions from the roller coaster swings of grief and pain after a few of these events, by becoming numb. At least this is how I view it. Almost ‘desensitized’. Could the Lord be laying many to sleep, because the days are short?  Could it be a premonition of far greater fatalities soon to occur?  These questions one begins to grapple with, since it makes no sense.


Oh, the 4th tragedy was actually the third, which I wrote about in last week’s blog. And this "third" tragedy involving her class mate, was actually the fourth fatality.This one shed some light, I believe, why God permitted our Yuki to perish as she did. (For those unfamiliar with the account, go back and read the prior blog entitled, “Unexpected Ministry Opportunities”.)


All these tragedies have occurred around the 9th-10th month of our loss.  Why?  God’s ways are “past finding out”. Is God not trying to speak to people in these tragedies?  Of course I didn’t even mention the college shooting in Oregon, which left several dead. This also occurred within the mentioned time frame. So how do we make sense of all this?  Frankly, we don’t and we can't, except that we live in a broken world. We just go on learning to lean more heavily on the One who holds our breath in His hands, as we hold our breath, wondering, waiting and praying, what will happen next. 


Time is truly running down. We all must make our calling and election sure.  Will you, my friend, take note? The words of the apostle are apropos—“If you hear His voice, harden not your heart.” Grace is only available a little time longer, God only knows how much longer.


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