Tragedy strikes our community on a daily basis in one form or another. And oh, the pain of it all! In 2 Corinthians 1, we learn three things that may help.
Tragedy is universal. It is no respecter of persons. Sooner or later, in one form or another, it comes to all – even to God’s people. The apostle Paul speaks of tragedy that came into his life in Asia (1:8). So, when it does come, it is helpful to know that we are not being singled out. We are not being picked on. We are not being punished. God is not mad at us. We are not being repaid for some evil deed. We live in a fallen world where tragedy is so common that no one is immune.
Tragedy can be overcome through God. Paul spoke of Him as “the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation” (1:3-4). He gives us strength to overcome tragedy by giving us the knowledge that this life and all of its tragedies are temporary and preparatory for the eternal world to come. Even though tragedy may strike our body or that of a loved one, the soul lives on in eternity. He provides strength to overcome through prayer, His word, His Spirit, and His people.
Tragedy may eventually prove to be helpful. He comforts us “that” we may be able, with the same comfort, to strengthen those experiencing the same tragedy (verse 4). Those who have been down that road can not only sympathize but can actually help others on that same road. They know the feeling and the things that helped them. Great dependency and trust in God is learned when one has been delivered from tragedy (1:9).
No one wants it, and we try desperately to avoid it, but it comes just the same. When it does, there is help in the Lord. If we avail ourselves of that help, we become better equipped to help others.
- Jack Harriman, pulpit minister & teacher