Summary: Trust is easy in the easy times. Tragedy is when you find out if you truly trust.
I was asked how you have trust or faith after tragedy and an hour or so later Pastor Mike asked me to speak tonight. I took that as my cue to speak on that topic. I have been through a few tragedies in my life and never thought of myself as a trauma survivor until I was trained to facilitate a Veterans Peer Group. Part of the introductory speech was to identify yourself as a trauma survivor, if you were. I always associated Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome with combat scenarios. As a member of the Base Honor Guard, I attended many funerals of young soldiers seeing too many young wives and toddlers left behind. I eventually asked to be put on the firing party far from the graveside. I lost my Dad at not quite seven so it had an effect on me.
As I reviewed my life I did see that I had survived numerous traumas and stress. Having co-facilitated a GriefShare group after my son was transferred to Glory I was able to see how people handled their grief and the impact of that grief on their faith. Indeed, the enemy attacked me asking if what I had said to others in grief over the years of ministry was good enough for me. I told him that it was and that God had given me peace and he was not going to take that from me. Recently, I was singing, “All my life you’ve been faithful. All my life you have been so so good.” The enemy asked, “Was he faithful and good when your son died?” I told him yes and sang on. Doesn’t mean I do not miss my son. It just means God was not unfaithful or treating me badly.
How you trust after a tragedy may be in direct correlation to how you trusted before the tragedy. Indeed, in good times it is easy to trust and our trust may be a bit shallow. When all is well there is very little to trust since there seems to be so much evidence of God being good and good to you. Seldom do we trust that God would ever allow any tragedy or sorrow to come our way. Yet, that is not what the Word teaches.
Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
We may quote that verse from the oldest book of the Bible at times and even think we have that kind of trust, but we do not want it tested. Indeed, all of us would fail that test. I suspect very few people have suffered as much tragedy as Job. He lost his wealth, his ten children and his health in a very short time. The trauma of it all so devastated his wife that she encouraged him to curse God and die. Sometimes folks are hard on Mrs. Job as if she was being heartless. Indeed, she may have been seeking relief for his suffering and hoping God would kill her as well to stop her pain. During the many times of war and plagues since then people have had some Job moments. Still, Job said God could kill him and still he would trust God. Is it any wonder God pointed to him as a man of God and the devil wanted to destroy him?
We tend to forget that we are in a sin cursed world because of Adam and Eve. Everything was in perfect peace and balance in Eden. Once they chose to opt for being like God all of that changed and in essence man was in charge of a world he could not control or fix as it deteriorated. Man also began deteriorating so that here we are in the last spasms of the Earth with men and women of minds so depraved that we are seeing unbelievable horrors on a daily basis.
Indeed, the song “This Is My Father’s World” is accurate in the title, but not in theology. While God owns the universe, He gave the Earth to man who gave it to the devil at the Fall. Now that man is cursed and influenced by satan more so than God it is being destroyed like a bad renter who breaks everything and allows animals to use it as their bathroom while never cleaning allowing the place to be infested by roaches and rats. One day God will come to repossess the world and after a thousand years he will destroy it and build new. In a sense, since man has chosen the devil over God this world is our father, the devil’s world.
Unfortunately, due to some bad theology many people lose their trust or faith after a tragedy because either they have not read the Word or someone taught them that God wants His people to always be healthy and wealthy. If you pull some Scripture out of context you can come up with many errors that will blast your brain and faith when they do not prove true.