Tragedy – An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe: e.g. ‘a tragedy that killed 95 people’ or ‘his life had been plagued by tragedy.’
Tragedy changes people.
It has destroyed the most put together person and ripped happy families apart. It can make you question everything – about yourself, about life, and about God. It forces us to make a conscious choice amidst the constant chaos of coming in and out of consciousness. Your mind is in full fledge battle mode and can manipulate your heart into choosing to keep going or to quit, to live or to die. This is where tragedy brings us all by itself; this place is dark and lonely – it’s the place I call the ruins.
When you think ruins, what sort of mental image comes to mind? My picture is a place of desolation and destruction. Everything is black and broken down to ashes. Pictures are burnt and contain a lesser version of the family once captured in them. Our bodies are underneath the rubble with just enough air to each take a shallow breath. At first glance, there are no signs of life – even in the living, breathing bodies. Death, like a sinkhole, tries to swallow what little life remains. I feel the warm, hard rain on my cheeks, but then realize that it’s not rain at all. I’m drowning in my tears, and I have no fight left. I look over to my left and see four other lives broken underneath the ruins. I so desperately want to pull them out. I WANT TO SAVE THEM. But, I’m not able. I’m in no position to save anyone. I cannot even save me.
I look to my right, and I see sun shining through the dark and depressed clouds. I fix my eyes there. The darkness begins to lift from the ruins; and as the darkness begins to lift – I, too, am lifted. Not by my own strength, not by my own might, but by my complete surrender. From the ruins, I arise. I once was blind, but now I see. I see deeper, more clearly now. But, how? How can tragedy open our eyes?
Well, the truth is – tragedy doesn’t open our eyes. It doesn’t do anything but inflict tragedy. Tragedy has no power unless you give it power. God longs for us to see His glory revealed through His creation. He wants to be glorified – even in tragedy. But, God doesn’t need tragedy to make any of us see. He isn’t looking to inflict pain on His children as a way to grow them. Yet, tragedy comes anyway – in all shapes and forms; and tragedy can still destroy. Not because it has the power to do so; but, because we are powerless to tragedy without the Lord. He is our light and our salvation. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Yes. Tragedy changes us. It can cause us to run from God or to run towards Him; and this is what makes all the difference. After tragedy, we are never the same; nor, should we want to be. We can be changed in the presence of a holy God or we can remain under the rubble of our pain. Rescued or ruined. That’s really our only choice. Will there be scars? Yes. Will it still hurt? Yes. Will we always remember? Yes. But, will we rise from the ruins? I will. Will you?
‘I lift my eyes up. My help comes from The Lord.’
‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’