Consolation in Christ

Posted: October 30, 2012 in Blog
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Life is full of tragedy that stirs emotional distress. The surrounding bedlam can be disturbing, leading to great grief, if one cares to pay attention. Some incidents have no penetrating effect, while others leave us in shambles. Do these things affect us because of how close we are to them? Things considered news worthy leave us untouched, and yet we lay broken in the wake of what the world considers insignificant. Is this a base selfishness? Is this our compassion reaching out in the despond of life? Is it sympathy extending to those with whom we are close? Or is our distress because of growing empathy regarding man’s miserable plight? I don’t know.

Words fail even the poet’s pen when contemplating tragedy. Why is an eighteen-month-old girl struggling for her life, due to a car accident is beyond words. Why a young man decided to fatally wound himself and take another with him in an act of desperation is beyond words. And why yet another man was killed while running lunchtime errands for his family is beyond words. Heart sinks, words fail, and our souls cry out when confronted with these realities.

No true consolation can be found in moments like this unless we posses deep-seated notions of God’s goodness. One might find solace in temporal things, but true healing is elusive apart from God. Sinking hearts and foundering tongues are bolstered by God’s sovereign goodness in all things.

However, to comfort the mourning soul in moments of pain is a delicate matter. God’s goodness seems like a mere trifle to the grieving if they do not know of God’s incomprehensible goodness. Do not misread this, please understand that God is good even when we are hurting and we must rest in his goodness. Nonetheless, to comfort a grieving person in moments like this with a few short stabs of biblical platitudes can feel as a dismissal of the grief one suffers.

If tragedy is to be handled well, biblical fiber needs engrained within the heart, so that one can stand the tempest as it blows. A solid foundation in the living Word of God empowers the believer to weather the storm while praising God’s holy name. Calamity is still painful, tribulation will wound our soul, but there is hope in the darkness.

Consolation is found in futility when it is rooted in the fullness of God’s plan to renew, restore, redeem, and reconcile creation. Comfort is found in the gospel of God. This is not about satisfying cultural rites of passage where we run to God as we mature and suffer trials. The gospel opens eyes to comprehend creation’s futility and the only hope for rescue is Jesus.

Listen, love, and gently lead the suffering to the fountainhead of comfort, Jesus Christ. If one suffers as a Christian, the same advice applies. Tragedy reminds that the wages of sin is death. Evil is a terse reminder of man’s need for God. May these constant reminders of man’s miserable plight draw us nearer to God and his purposes of redemption in Christ. And may we lead others to the wellspring of life.

Comments
  1. Great thoughts BJ. Andy Barlow once told me, “you should preach the sovereignty of God so much that when people need to rest in it, you don’t have to tell them”…or something like that. I’ve often wondered how you can speak words of hope to the hopeless. Thanks for stimulating my mind.

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