Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us wake up and serve others who ache with hurt and grief, as fellow believers filled with grace and compassion.
Sometimes it takes a suicide to make us regret our insistence on pretending everyone is fine and mental health is not an issue for "real" believers.
Sometimes it takes the loss of a precious little one to make us treasure the teachable moments as we wipe runny noses and sing the favorite song again.
Sometimes it takes an overdose to make us realize that the prince of darkness stalks our quiet little town just like he roams any big city, seeking whom he may devour.
Sometimes it takes a fight to help us find the gratitude to truly appreciate what a steady, faithful partner we have in our spouse or the relationship with our grown child.
Sometimes it takes a funeral to make us realize we didn't even know this sister or brother in Christ that we smiled and greeted pleasantly for years.
I don't want it to take a funeral or a tragedy to make me learn to be the feet and hands of Christ, but those deeply sorrowful moments, inevitable in life on this earth, are tools God uses to grab our attention and refocus our scatterbrains on souls headed for an eternity in one of two places.
How little anything else matters beside that fact!
And every single bit of sorrow in the world comes paired with a choice, to choose love and hope and faith over despair and depression and hopelessness.
"I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days..." Deut. 3:19-20
Gracious God our Father, Blessed Controller of all things, we ask that You would help us greet earthly sorrows with renewing of faith.The wickedness and grief of the world takes our breath away and our eyes off You. Yet every instance of tragedy is a chance to choose life and good or death and evil. Give us the courage to choose aright. Help us to learn the lesson in small ways, on small days, so that when the great and terrible trials come, we are strong people already strengthened for the fight. On sure footing let us greet the blows and billows. On Christ the solid Rock we stand. Amen.