Speaking Through Tragedy
Although we never like to admit it, God will at times use even tragedy to shake us out of self-centeredness or some other misguided attitude. Unexpected hardship often brings with it a season of intense clarity, as the Lord strips away something meaningful to us in order to refocus our minds on Him.
We see this clearly in Numbers 21:4-9. Here, we once again find the Israelites complaining. God had directed them to take the long way out of Mount Hor so as to avoid the Edomites. However, the people became impatient by the longer journey. And in turn, they began to grumble and complain about Moses and God Himself. They had turned their minds away from the Lord, who therefore needed to get their attention once again.
It is interesting that God decided not to do so through blessing or another great, miraculous sign. After all, the Israelites had seen Him move in this way time and time again. Instead, God sent poisonous snakes into the camp, causing the death of many people.
What was their response? They immediately confessed their sin and asked Moses to intercede for them to the Lord. Though it was a costly lesson for their community, this act got their attention.
Speaking through tragedy is an intensely personal way in which God communicates with His people. While we cannot presume to know what He's trying to tell others through their heartaches, we should meet our own hardships by looking for His divine purpose and instruction.
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