Responding to Tragedy

Cry? Pray? Send money? Comment on Facebook? Think sad thoughts so you don’t feel guilty for your lack of emotions? Deaden your senses so you no longer feel? What should you do? Another week, another national tragedy.

Our humanity calls us to care. Being like God, calls us to love people even when we don’t know them. But what is our realistic ability to invest in these situations? I’ve seen people go into depressive spirals over a tragedy in which they knew no one. I’ve watched others invest themselves so thoroughly in the national or Christian news cycle that an addiction to worry becomes their default thought rhythm.

What to do? . . .

  1. Don’t blame God – He is not the author of tragedy. The thief comes to steal kill and destroy, Jesus came to bring fullness of life (John 10:10).
  2. Do care – you’re not called to be a robot with no emotions. You’re allowed to let people, even those you don’t know, into your heart.
  3. Don’t carry it – you don’t have the capacity to carry all of these tragedies. Lay the burden down before God and let Him give you the light load. Specifically ask, “God, should I invest further emotions in this?” . . .
    • If yes, then ask, “God, what do you want me to do about it?” He will never tell you to invest in something without a payoff. Even if He says yes, He’s not giving you the whole load, trust me, you’re not big enough. Take His lighter load.
    • If no, then ask, “God, what is your lighter load for me to carry?” (Matt. 11:29-30) Most likely the answer is, “Care about your family, your neighbor, your friend (Someone you know & influence).” Don’t try to throw hatchets at the moon – invest in your personal mission.
  4. Own your zone – God has people in your territory that need to be loved – embrace mildly uncomfortable moments to know their name, learn their dreams, and invest in their story. People whose lives will be changed by your prayers, who’s emotions will be held together because you’re there, who need to hear about Jesus from your story, people who will experience upgrades in your words of blessing. Use these kinds of events as fuel to own your zone (“stand your ground” – Eph 6:13). That is your calling. You don’t have the capacity to own every zone, and you will certainly miss yours if you try.
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