Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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HomeWord - Sept. 16, 2008


Facing Unexpected Tragedy
This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

You keep track of all my sorrows. 
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have record of each one in your book. 
Psalm 56:8

Not long ago, I received a phone call that knocked the wind out of me. I received word that my friend’s father & mother had been brutally attacked by a man with a knife at a popular tourist attraction in Beijing, China leaving her father dead and mother in critical condition. 

At the Olympics in Beijing to cheer on her husband as he coached the USA men’s volleyball team, my friend experienced a tragedy that came out of nowhere.  It was a tragedy that affected me as well.  Half a world away, my soul screamed out to God “WHY? How could you let this happen to such a wonderful, loving and kind family?”

As Christ-followers, it’s not unusual to believe that we are somehow better prepared to face life’s tragedies than those who don’t know Christ. Yet, given the unexpected nature of most tragedies, and given the nature of our humanity, I’m not sure it’s right to think that when thrown into the crucible of crisis, Christians are any different than anyone else. And, with some reflection, I’ve concluded that this is okay, and not a demonstration of some lack of faith.

Consider King David, who the Scriptures refer to as “a man after God’s own heart.” The Psalms offer portraits of David. Like many, David experienced radical highs and tumultuous lows.  Through his life’s journey he constantly cried out to God to rescue and save him.  He asks God, “Why?”  He begs God to protect. He often feels abandoned by God.  But each time David cries out to God he always remembers an important truth.  Even though there are times he feels abandoned and hopeless, he trusts in God’s unfailing love.

To be honest, I feel confused and angry about the murder of my friend’s father. So, I am going to follow David’s example.  There is nothing embarrassing or sinful about voicing our distress to God.  He wants us to come to him in all things, at all times.  He wants to rescue us and hold us.  I may have to live with not finding any answers to the “Why?”, but in the end, I am certain that God keeps track of each of our sorrows and grieves with us.

When you face crisis, don’t be afraid to cry out in your sorrow and distress to God.  He is there to listen, to comfort, and to love.

Going Deeper: 

  1. Think about a time you felt God abandoned you.   How can you find comfort in knowing that David often felt that way too? 
  2. What does it mean to you that the Lord keeps track of each tear you cry? 

Further Reading: 
Psalm 13; Psalm 46; 2 Corinthians 4:6-18

Kelly McFadden works with HomeWord’s radio broadcast and content teams. She and her husband Michael are the new parents of Campbell McFadden.

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