There are times when I do not understand..
There are times when I am confident that I know what I know and then things occur that reveal to me how limited my understanding really is.
There are some things for which there are no easy answers.
We are familiar with death but do we really understand it?
We witness endless tragedy but do we fully understand why it touches some but not others?
Thursday July19th was one of those times.
On a sunny afternoon two boats filled with tourists suddenly found themselves in an unexpected storm on a lake.
In a matter of minutes the storm produced winds in excess of 70 to 80 miles an hour and 5 foot waves.
One boat made it back to safety the other did not.
17 lives were lost, 9 from one family
wrong place wrong time
provide possible reasons the tragedy occurred.
Whatever the reason or reasons they do not answer the deeper question.
Why some and not the others?
I was one of a team of people present when the surviving members of the family who lost nine of their loved ones were provided with the finality if what they feared..
The question why was big in that room at that moment
Are you sure?
I left the room without the answer and several days later I still do not have it.
Why some but not the others.
What was the reason, the cause, the purpose?
We breathe a sigh of relief that we weren’t on that boat, in that building, in that car, on that plane, in that storm.
We recount times when disaster was close.
If we had left five minutes earlier.
If we had taken our usual route to work.
If we had not missed that flight.
If we had missed the warning….
If we had gone today,
We think “that could have been me.”
But deep inside we want to know why.
Why them and not us?
I know in the days ahead there will be many attempts to answer why.
Within hours of the tragedy there already were.
And at some point a reason or reasons will be officially underlined as to the cause.
But maybe the why on a deeper level is a reminder.
A reminder that death will eventually come to us all, but can come suddenly, unexpectedly.
A reminder to be ready.
A reminder that we must have an eternal perspective.
A reminder that this life is not all there is.
A reminder to think about how.
How may be more important than why. Maybe its more about how. How we live, how we will face death, how we can be ready when that time comes.
Jesus addressed this question in Luke 13:1-5
Being good or being bad at least in the world’s definition does not exempt us from tragedy and suffering.
Jesus said as much to those present that day,
Why?- “are they worse sinners because they suffered this way? No!”
Tragedy and suffering affect us all good or bad.
It’s really about how.
How we think about life.
It’s about eternal perspective.
It’s also about a word that leads us to think about how we live.
Webster’s defines repentance this way-
” to feel such regret over an action or intention as to change one’s mind about it”.
The churches were full after 9/11 and many times since whenpl great tragedy occurs.
Churches probably saw an increase in attendance on Sunday in Branson Missouri and the surrounding areas.
Tragedy can make you think about life and how you’re living it.
But you have to take it a step further.change your mind about how you will live.
We can perish in this life due to natural causes or in a horribly tragic way. Jesus was clear that unless we repent, change our minds about how we will live this life we will die not only a natural death, but more importantly eternal death.
I believe on that summer afternoon in July how they would live had already been decided by those who perished on that boat.
I listened to the prayers of the family before they left to tell their sister that her husband and three of her children along with five others were gone
I believe in my heart their prayers were a reflection of how this family had decided to live their lives.
And If there is to be anything good that can come from this tragedy it would be causing even one person to stop and think about how they are living their life right now.
Please pray for those who lost loved ones in this horrible tragedy in Branson.