Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary
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When Tragedy Strikes

These last two weeks have been difficult, to say the least. Tragedy has been all around us, and I am constantly reminded of my need for the Savior. I have spent many hours just crying out to Him, asking for His healing, His comfort, to so many around us who are hurting.

Two weeks ago, a dear friend of a member of my family was taken to the hospital for chest pain. She ended up being rushed into a major open heart surgery. She is still in the hospital, fighting for her life. The family has been told repeatedly to keep praying. She’s a young lady, in her early 30s. Such a sweet, precious soul.

Three days after her surgery, an alleged drunk driver struck six high school students at cross country practice less than 20 miles from my home. They were on the sidewalk when he hit them, some reports saying he was going 80 mph. One beautiful young lady died at the scene. Another died the next day at the hospital. A third succumbed some ten days after the accident. Three others are recovering from their injuries.

As a parent, I cannot even begin to comprehend how those parents, families must feel. And the students who witnessed the accident? It will be a scene, a reality, that will stay with them forever.

The day after the kids were hit, another high school student in my hometown died in a car accident. She, her mother, her sister were in the car together. I don’t know what happened, but I know this high school sophomore had her life cut short. Yet another family dealing with unexpected tragedy.

Friday, I saw a news notification about a horrific car accident near my old home. As I watched the footage from the news helicopter, my sister called asking for my prayers for her friend who had been in the accident. Unfortunately, she did not survive the accident.

I honestly have no words.

The pain and tragedy of the recent weeks has been heavily on my mind, even as I find myself in prayer for these families I don’t even know. My heart has broken many times over. The tears have stung my face. The pain so many in our community feel is heavier than I can explain.

So many thoughts have run through my mind over the past two weeks as each of these tragedies has unfolded before our eyes. Here are just a few of those thoughts…

The Lord is near the broken-hearted. Psalm 34:18 reminds us in our pain and brokenness, He is near. He knows what it is to suffer. He weeps with us in our pain. He wipes our tears from our face, capturing every tear in His hand.

We do not understand the pain and tragedy in this life, but we must cling to faith that God is good even when life is not. Scripture tells us we will have pain in this life, but He has overcome! And through Him, we, too, will overcome.

Even in death, we have hope. Yes, death takes our loved ones from our presence. It ends our opportunity to interact here on this earth. But death is not the end.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 teaches we do not mourn as those who do not know Jesus. No, our mourning is tempered by the truth of heaven, the opportunity to one day be reunited with those we love. Does it end our tears? No. Absolutely not. But knowing Christ gives us the hope that one day we will be with our loved ones again. It reminds us they have been ushered into a place where there is no more pain, no more suffering. They have been made whole again!

And, what a joy to be in the presence of our Jesus! Two of the families of the cross country team from Moore High School have made their faith well known. I keep picturing these precious teenagers running into the arms of Jesus! He wraps them up in a huge hug, welcoming them to eternity. What joy that brings!

We must be prepared for eternity. Not one of these individuals woke up knowing it would be their last day on earth. Not one knew a car accident, a heart defect, a drunk driver, would end their earthly life on that day.

I don’t personally know any of these individuals. However, many of them and/or their families have made their faith public.

The father of one of the cross country runner’s said it so poignantly: “She died doing what she absolutely loved, and she didn’t suffer. In the blink of an eye she was in heaven—she had prepared for that journey years ago.

She prepared for her eternity years ago.

He has the confidence of knowing his daughter is with her Savior for eternity because she was prepared. What about you? Have you prepared for eternity? If you were to be hit by a drunk driver today, would you run into eternity with the Savior? If you were to lose control of your car, would you find yourself with Jesus in the blink of an eye?

There’s so much I still want to do. So much life left to live. So many lives I want to impact. But, I know to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). I just want to live my life in such a way others will see me preparing for my eternal future.



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