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When Tragedy Strikes

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

Recently, I received a call from my husband while grocery shopping.

Without saying hello, my husband asked me to stay calm.

Immediately, my chest tightened. “Is it any of our children,” I asked. “Did something happen to them?”

“No. It’s not the children,” my husband said. “They’re okay.”

Could it be Sacha? She’s been sick lately. Her arthritis had been so bad that she’d stumbled into the pool several times. We’d been there to save her. But maybe no one saw her when she stumbled this time. Please, God, no! “Is it… our doggie?” I held my breath.

After a brief silence, my husband sighed. “Yes, it’s Sacha.”

“What happened?” A pit in my stomach opened into a massive crater. “Did she drown?”

“She did,” he said, his voice cracking. “I’m… so sorry.”

As I rushed from the grocery store to meet my family at the vet’s office, the shock of sudden loss crippled me. My dog had been more than a pet to me. She’d been my writing partner for thirteen years. She’d been there when my husband was deployed, on most of our many road trips, and had grown up with our children and grandson. Sacha’s been a better friend than many I thought I could count on.

When going through hardships like this, sorrow and bitterness can leave us disillusioned, confused, and hopeless. Like many of us challenged with complex and difficult experiences, finding fulfillment is tough. Believing in victory seems unreachable. Yet, God asks us to trust that he is reasonable and provides comfort. Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him (Psalm 34:8 NIV).

I’m grateful for God’s word that tells us we’re unstoppable despite the odds. The end of our strength is the beginning of His. In Isaiah 40:31, the passage refers to those of us who have challenges, but the word tells us that we are being transformed, renewed, and strengthened despite what we feel or see.

There will be a reward for us when we choose what God offers. To leave the backward pull of sorrow, doubt, and disappointment, we must believe God has a plan, and life works best when we trust it.

Though my sweet puppy didn’t miraculously come back to life as I’d hoped she would when I entered the vet’s clinic, God comforted me. He turned my attention to Tuxedo, the cat who still sits by my office window, opportunities that unexpectedly come my way, and family and friends who bless me with acts of kindness or encouragement.

God has been working on my heart to live thankfully. Instead of focusing on problems, brokenness, and family (including our beloved pets), that we’ve lost, I’m encouraged to rejoice over the rich relationships and close bonds with those who consistently walk alongside us.

We can learn to “see” God’s plan for ourselves by exercising our faith. Reading God’s word helps us when we’re overcome with challenging experiences, doubt, and fear. We discover that many people who served God were also frightened and faced overwhelming challenges where the odds were stacked against them.

God uses our weakness and sorrow to prove the immeasurable power of His strength and comfort. The patience, wisdom, and resilience we need to emerge fulfilled, and victorious are entrenched in the challenges and tragedies of life.


Prayer: Sometimes, it’s hard for me to let go of what I expect as a Christian. I struggle with thinking that if I’m good, everything will be perfect. Please show me how to keep my mind open to the possibilities before me when confronted with loss, tragedy, and disappointments. Please show me how to grow for each season, knowing I live in the fulfillment and victory you have in store. Amen.

Your Turn: Have you recently faced a tragedy? Do you feel the weight of sorrow? How can you fight for a life God wants for you that seems impossible without His intervention? What is God calling you to leave behind to experience something new?

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