Tragedy is everywhere. It seems that every time we turn on the television or open a newspaper or get an alert on our phones and we come face-to-face with tragedy. We try to shelter ourselves and our families from these sorts of things, but no matter how hard we try, tragedy will eventually find us.

This week, our church family came face to face with a real-life tragedy. A teenage young lady lost her life in a car wreck while heading to school one morning. It was an act that she had done with her mom and sister a hundred times before. This time it ended in a tragedy that has rocked two communities. See, her and her family were relocated to another town because of a job her father received. It was a hard move for her because she was leaving behind close friends and a loving church that she had made while living in the community.

When things like this happen our first response is usually to ask God “why?” “Why would you do this to a family that loves you and serves you?” We cannot help but ask it. We believe that God is just, and we yearn to understand how this tragedy is an expression of that justice. We also know, if only in our minds sometimes, that He seldom answers the “why” question. We press into him, but oftentimes he remains silent on these matters.

Hopefully, the “why” slowly turns to “how?” How can we move forward? How can this make us stronger and not tear us down? How can we now move forward with the shadow of this horrible death?

There will be no way to remove the terrible pain we feel. The grief is real.

There are some things we can learn from tragedies that will help us as we try to move forward:

Life is fragile. We never know when it is our time to be called home. We must get right with God before we die and face judgment. When tragedies happen, we talk about it. Whether it was a natural disaster or a tragedy caused by evil we are glued to the television. We want to know all the details, but when it is over, most people go on with life unchanged, with no thought to how it applies to them.

2. We need a community of believers to surround us in our time of need. I do not understand how people go on without a strong church family to support them along the way. In this case with the young lady who died in the car wreck, even though we are separated by hundreds of miles, our church was moved to gather and pray with each other. We cried with each other. We just sat in silence leaning on each other as we lifted prayers for the family.

If you have not found a church family to pray with, to care with, and to love with, then I encourage you to find one soon.