Summary: A message presented the Sunday after Hurricane Katrina, intended to encourage those troubled over the destruction and worried about loved ones and to challenge us to get to work helping the hurting lives we encounter every day.
SPECIAL MESSAGE: How Do Christians Deal With Tragedy?
Felt Need Intro:
This has been quite a week hasn’t it? We all woke up last Sunday with news that a category 5 hurricane was heading somewhere between New Orleans and Biloxi, MS. People were trying to evacuate and many couldn’t get out because of the traffic. By the time it hit land, Hurricane Katrina was a category 4 storm, but still much stronger than New Orleans and the surrounding areas were prepared to deal with.
ASK: I want to ask you something…How many of you know someone personally that was involved in this hurricane?
This morning, I want take a one week break from our message series in the book of Genesis. I hope that series has been helpful to you to study and learn more about Genesis and how it still impacts us today. However, I felt it was important, actually more than important. I felt it was necessary that we take a week to talk about and deal with this tragedy facing our neighbors to the east of us.
• Talk about the hurricane, people still in attics, on roofs, evacuating the evacuation center, etc.
This morning, I want to share with you a message called, “How Do Christians Deal With Tragedy?” And we’re going to look at two different areas and ask two different questions.
• First, what can we learn from tragedy?
• Second, what we must do in tragedy?
So, before we open our Bibles and read some verses, I just want to share with you some practical things that I believe we can learn from tragedy…
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM TRAGEDY?
1. We learn that God is in control!
Maybe I should say that we should be reminded that God is in control. Let me illustrate it this way. When you are outside and a serious rain storm comes and the clouds get dark and lightning begins to flash, what’s the first thing we normally do? We go inside. We get inside some shelter. We go in our homes, we shut all the windows and we sit back on our couch and watch TV or we go inside and take one of those great naps that you get to take when it’s raining outside. But, what happens when the storm is so heavy that it destroys your shelter? What happens when the storm rages so strong that it rips the roof off and pours down on us? You realize that the shelter that you were trying to find protection in is not so great after all. You see, there is a shelter that we can find refuge in that can withstand any storm we face. It is not built with human hands and is not constructed with brick and mortar. Here’s what the Bible says in the book of Psalms…
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. [c]
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. [a]
2 They say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
God and God alone is the shelter that we should find refuge in during the storms of life.
No matter what we face in life, we can be assured that God is in control. When you are facing tragedy or when you are worried because someone you are close to is facing tragedy, you can pray with confidence and trust God completely because he is in control!
2. We learn just how important a relationship with God is!
In the midst of a terrible tragedy, we have seen two groups of people:
• One is a group of people that are trying to rescue people and are sacrificing themselves to save others. They are doing good.
• Second is a group of people that are looting and not just trying to steal food and water to survive on, but are stealing jewelry and all sorts of things. They are saying that any store that sells weapons of any kind has already been ransacked and every gun and knife stolen. Groups of armed men are rampaging the city, raping women, stealing anything they can get their hands on, and killing anyone in their way. They are doing bad.
We are reminded of what a person is capable of when their heart isn’t submitted to God.
I guess here’s the point I’m trying to make…Do you know what the looters and the rescuers all have in common? They both need Jesus Christ.