Summary: Tragedy brings out eternal truth & character that will fade if not nurtured.
A Temporary Sanity by David Eden
“God whispers to us in our pleasure,
but screams to us in our pain.” -C.S. Lewis
Isn’t it amazing how tragedy can awake you out of your sleepy life? Suddenly, for a few intense moments, eternity invades time and life becomes clear. Terrorists attack America, airliners explode into buildings, gunfire rocks a high school or even a church. A tornado hits the Midwest. An earthquake hits California. A hurricane hits the Gulf. Someone you know is in a horrible accident. Or maybe, like with me, a bus full of your beloved church teenagers slams into a bridge.
And suddenly, it’s as if someone hit a slow motion button. Reality crashes into our priorities, our pressures, our big-hairy-important plans... and everything freezes! Everything becomes extremely, painfully REAL- every minute, every word, every soul becomes suddenly precious, as life is painted in deep and vivid colors. And you realize: This is not a movie. And we all become…at least for a little while…very very sane.
And isn’t it amazing how, when the darkness hits, real lights begin to shine...and certain people go into "love-mode"? Strangers come out of the woodwork to help. Take-charge voices ring out amid the screams of victims. Everyone pulls together to do their job… and more. Schedules are set on hold. There are outbreaks of incredible charity. Resources, food and volunteers seem to come from nowhere and everywhere, as an unspeakable sanity fills the air and filters through the community. And now people have the time and the love to help their neighbor, to overlook mistakes, to ask what they can do and to hug their own families a little tighter.
When catastrophe awakens from our comfortable coma, we realize what matters: Life is precious, death is uncertain and love is our purpose here. We realize we might not see our loved ones tomorrow. We begin to see that we are living in a fallen world where nature, and human nature, are out of control. We now understand that we are our brother’s keeper and we must help that suffering stranger, despite religion, race or relationship. The clarity of crisis replaces the fog of indifference.
And by the way, isn’t it curious how we all get suddenly patriotic! America feels again like that unique and unified beacon of freedom we always hoped she was! Remember all those flags flying after 911! Remember all those legislators standing united on the capital steps and singing together of their country’s blessing? Since Katrina & Rita hit, despite political disagreements, what an outpouring of love-based and faith-based charity has been flowing into the gulf states! And remember how the last words of an unsuspecting hero became a national battle cry: "Let’s roll!”
But oh how our security bubbles have been burst! Now we realize that maybe, there could be such a thing as Evil. Maybe this is an insane world, full of insane people who love to hate! Maybe some fanatic could, some unforeseen day, try to kill himself to kill us. Any day a teen could go crazy and start shooting kids at my church or my school! Any day the weather could go from an irritation to a nightmare! Any day a bus driver could do cocaine the night before he drives my kids to camp! Is there any place of safety or sanity?... At school? On the bus? In a church? In the face of real evil, we have also seen the face of real good, real bravery, real compassion.
But isn’t it strange how this blessed sanity fades? You’ve heard of “foxhole conversions” or “jailhouse religion”? In the crisis, when all hell is breaks loose, heaven gets huge and we promise God -- Anything! Anything, if He will just get us out of this crisis alive! But after the dust settles, the war is over, the storm subsides and we’ve survived... then what? After the flags come down, the media moves on to the next big story, the funerals are over and our hearts begin to beat again... Where’s is our heart? Where is our faith?
Do we drift back into “normal” routines, back to business-as-usual? Do we stumble back into our "sane" lives, back into our cubicles, clubs and culture, our partisan politics and pressing business, our precious treasures and private pleasures, the noises and voices of, you know, "the real world”? Yes, we’ll make sure our schools and airports are more secure. We’ll try to repair our levies, rebuild our cities and chase down our enemies. We’ll remember the days of horror and honor. We’ll remember our departed ones, our heroes and we’ll build their monuments. And hope that it’ll never happen again.
In all personal tragedy personal philosophy is forced to become personal biography. Things we half-believe in our heads are driven that long, lonely 18 inches to our hearts. Maybe there is a Heaven. Maybe a Hell. Maybe there is eternal reward and justice. Now that God has gotten our attention: Maybe He is real! In this insane world of terrorists, tornadoes, tribulation and tension, maybe we are a rebellious planet. Maybe we are a world at war with God! Maybe He has visited this planet and we’ve rejected His counsel. Maybe it’s time to hear His Voice calmly calling to us to heal our minds, families, societies and nations through His Word and His real love. Maybe He alone can provide the sane soundtrack to the horror show we call life.