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As tragedy hits close to home

February 19, 2011
By KIMBERLY SHORT WOLFE

When a sleepy little town such as Elkins awakens to the devastation that happened on Wednesday morning, it does something to the equilibrium of our oasis. Crime happens in the big cities, we tend to think, not in our picturesque town with the mountains surrounding the safety of our cohesive extended family called neighbors.

When bad things happen to good people, a disillusionment can take place as the shock and the horror begins to wane. Tempers may flare, nerves become raw, and folks begin to question, even their faith.

At one of the lowest points in my life, a song came on the radio, and it depicted my anguish as it described the solution: To be held ...

Two months is too little, they let him go

They had no sudden healing

To think that providence

Would take a child from his mother

While she prays, is appalling

Who told us we'd be rescued

What has changed and

Why should we be saved from nightmares

We're asking why this happens to us

Who have died to live, it's unfair

This is what it means to be held

How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell

We'd be held

This hand is bitterness

We want to taste it and

Let the hatred numb our sorrows

The wise hand opens slowly

To lilies of the valley and tomorrow

This is what it means to be held

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell

We'd be held

If hope if born of suffering

If this is only the beginning

Can we not wait for one hour

Watching for our Savior

This is what it means to be held

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was that when everything fell

We'd be held

- from Natalie Grant's album "Awaken," song title "Held"

When I first listened to this song, I realized the truth conveyed. Bad things do happen to good people. I see it daily as do most of you. It can either disillusion us and bring us dispair or it can prompt us to "be held" and to help others to know what it is to be held.

When your world falls apart and your dreams are shattered on the pavement of reality, there is hope. That hope is found in Jesus Christ and though he may not change your circumstance, tragedy or sorrow, he will, and I can testify to the fact: He will hold you.

There is a painting hanging in an office of one of my friends. It is of a woman sitting at the feet of our savior. She is obviously in anguish and laying on the feet of Jesus with his hand resting on her. I fell in love with that painting and have sought it everywhere, to no avail. However, the picture is embedded in my mind.

It is normal to feel anger, abandonment and dispair from time to time. This is a part of the human plight. However, as we lean, scream and cry, this all gives way to a deliverance of a different sort. Though our circumstances remain unchanged, a peace prevails and a healing takes place wherein the disillusionment gives way to peace. A peace in the midst of a storm, a joy in the midst of the pain, and a contentment throughout the chaos and craziness this world sometimes deals to us. Stanley Gould (everyone's favorite person) told me: "Kim, you play the hand you are dealt." If you know Stanley, and most folks do, this speaks volumes. The man emanates peace, tranquility and joy.

You can be angry with the circumstances you face. You can rail in anguish at the seeming indifference of a father in heaven. You can weep and cry and bargain for your pain to be removed. Your pain is real and your desire for healing and deliverance is understandable.

The Bible says that God sends sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust. Good things will happen to bad people and bad things will happen to good people.

From our point of view - God abandons us and allows us to experience terrible loss when he could and should intervene on our behalf.

But from his point of view - what does he see? We can't fathom it.

But he did not promise us heaven on earth - he promised a new heaven and earth. On this earth he promised us that evil men would hate us and seek to kill us. He promised that persecution would be rampant and the earth would crumble around us. He promised us a comforter and he promised us that he would be coming for us - and that he will avenge us.

And we accuse him of unfaithfulness when pain and death come near our homes.

When the worst happens, when our hearts are broken and cold with grief, when we feel farthest from him we are called to remember that he hasn't promised a life without heartache - but he has promised to be there and to hold us.

Knowing this is a comfort to those who believe that there is more to life than life on earth. This is only bearable because we have placed our faith in God's promise of eternity. Someday he will wipe away our tears of pain and we will at last know what it is like to live without fear of loss. We will experience pure joy and awesome security without the presence of evil and death.

Until then, his arms are enough.

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" - Deuteronomy 33:27

(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a home school mom and a counselor at Cornerstone Christian Counseling. Contact: 304-637-7018 or email: cornerstonechristiancounseling@yahoo.com.)

 
 

 

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