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Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Illusion of "Safety"

Driving by our local school I happened to glance at the reader board out front. "Have a safe relaxing summer!"

"Safe" ... I couldn't help thinking about my almost 7 year old grandson's preschool classmate, a recent drowning victim at a summer camp. I've lived enough years to know, as careful as we might try to be, this fallen world is not a safe place. You become momentarily distracted while driving ...and drift into the path of an oncoming vehicle. You pass your annual physical with flying colors ...and have a massive coronary two weeks later. You roll out of bed,  head to your early morning college class ...and are shot to death by a deranged student. You carefully eat all natural foods, exercise regularly, wear all natural fibers ...and die of cancer. You kiss Mommy & Daddy good-bye, excitedly head for summer camp ...and never return home.

The world tends to deal with such things by creating more laws, by seeking to assign blame, by asking how such things can happen, and often by declaring, "It just doesn't make sense!" Followers of Jesus Christ should not respond in the same manner. Having read & studied God's revelation to man, we know the world as it now stands is not a safe place and it won't be until our Lord returns. We should not expect perfect safety, no matter how cautious we are. So how do WE respond to "senseless" tragedy? How do WE react when someone in our local assembly is affected by death?

First, we grieve ...but not as those without hope. We grieve for the family's loss. We grieve for our own loss. We cry together, we hug, we pray together, we talk and remember and laugh about our memories of the one lost to us. Even Jesus, knowing He was about to resurrect Lazarus, wept with Mary and Martha in their grief. Don't think it's "unChristian" to grieve. The Bible doesn't call for us to be Greek Stoics! "Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep." (Romans 12:15) When the loved one was a follower of Jesus Christ, we are not without hope in our grief. "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope." (1 Thess. 4:13)

The parents of my grandson's classmate are trusting in Jesus Christ, His righteous life & His substitutionary death on the cross for their sins. They are surrounded by an assembly of believers and sit under a godly pastor ...all of whom are able to bring God's truth to bear upon their grief and loss. What a blessing in times of tragedy!

Finally, pray for the families. Lift them up before the throne of grace. Don't limit your prayers to asking God to "comfort them". Get specific. Pray from the ashes of this tragedy they might KNOW God more fully, that they would trust Him in their grief, that they would find their ultimate joy in Him, that Jesus Christ would increasingly be the focus of their lives, that they would live for Him and glorify Him! Be eternally-minded in your prayers.

Don't expect ultimate safety is possible in this fallen world. Look forward to your eternal home and spend the rest of your time here in the light of God's eternal truths.

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death."  [1 Cor. 15:22-26]

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