When the Unthinkable Happens
Dr. Charles Stanley
DescriptionAs we move forward through the difficulties in life, we have an important decision to make: How should we respond?
Scriptures: Psalm 46:1, Psalm 27:1-3, Deuteronomy 31:6
There’s no limit to who can experience tragedy. Sooner or later, every person will be faced with the sadness and difficulty associated with sudden traumatic events that change life forever. These traumatic events will come in many different shapes and sizes and will impact individuals, families, cities, nations, and our entire world.
Most of the time, tragic events aren’t something for which we plan. We don’t arrange ahead of time to face these sudden “crisis” moments. But whether we’re prepared or not, tragedies will come and go in our lives—and they’ll almost always occur with devastating abruptness. We get the phone call about the auto accident; we hear of the heart attack; we catch the ongoing loop on the evening news of the viral pandemic sweeping the globe.
In moments of tragedy and crisis, there’s no better place to turn than to our God, who has promised to help those who turn to Him in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). When the unthinkable happens, it’s time for us to look to the Father and ask Him for words of comfort and strength and for direction on how we should respond and proceed.
We can search Scripture and find many of God’s saints who’ve known times of great trouble and difficulty as they journeyed through life. Consider David, the psalmist of Israel. Though he was anointed and chosen to be king, he found himself hated and hunted by those who sought to destroy him. In Psalm 27:1-3, however, notice that he says while in the midst of trouble:
"The LORD is the light of my Salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread? When evildoers come upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war rise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident."
These are the words of a man who learned to be sustained by God during the most difficult and trying times in his life. In the midst of tragedy, he learned he didn’t need to live in fear, because God was his defense. Though he found himself in trying times, he could be fully confident that God would protect and uphold him.
We have the same hope as David because God has promised never to leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). We also have hope because we’re not alone—not only do we have God, He’s also given us each other. This is our strength—a united spirit gaining confidence and determination together but, more importantly, learning to rely on God together.
As we move forward through the difficulties in life, we have an important decision to make: How should we respond? Our response to tragedy, whether it’s personal and limiting in effect or an all-encompassing, worldwide crisis, should be the same: Turn to the Father, lead with compassion and concern for others, live fearlessly, remember who’s in control, and discover the good.