“Tragedy has a way of really messing with your head.
It challenges everything you ever thought you knew about God,
and you just can’t see clearly.”
These words tumbled out of my mouth as I thought back on painful life-altering circumstances. Isn’t it true? Tragedy exposes deep questions that perhaps we have never asked or have been too afraid to ask. Questions that must be pondered.
When faced with our inability to control pain and suffering we wrestle with existential questions at the core of our being. Even a heart that has always believed that God is good and will always take care His own finds itself on a slippery slope grasping for solid ground. Questions of “Why?” “How?” bounce off the walls of our minds to our hearts and echo back again with seemingly no answer.
Our Innovation Team just completed Note to Self, a video to accompany the everystudent.com article “Where is God in the Midst of Tragedy?” Few things are more painful than being mishandled when you are grieving or hurting. Well intentioned words can feel empty, painful. Yet there is comfort when you meet someone who has “been there,” someone who has experienced brokenness and the “deep night of the soul.” Our team felt the only people who could speak into this delicate topic were those who have lived it. We interviewed ten such people.
During the interview we took them through a ‘thought exercise.’ We asked them to step into a virtual time machine and return to the tragedy. We had them imagine looking at their younger self (represented by an empty chair) in that tragedy and speak to him/her. Throughout the exercise we gave prompts like, “Right now I know you feel…,” “I wish you could see…,” I wish you knew…” We asked questions like, “What would you want him/her to know, remember or see? What do you know now that may have been difficult to remember when you were in the darkest part of your tragedy?”
I helped shape the thought exercise and knew what questions would be asked. Still it was an emotional journey as I was being interviewed and re-lived those pain filled experiences. Like many of those interviewed, I found the exercise enlightening and actually healing. They were encouraged to see how far they had come and how God had met them.
Jesus said in John 16:20, “Truly truly you will weep and lament . . . You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” Jesus never promised a light-hearted easy life, but He did promise that by knowing Him, our sorrow will one day turn to joy. God reminds us that He can redeem any circumstance that has shaped us. What a glorious hope and comfort. Not just for our own hearts, but to share with others who are asking, “Where IS God in tragedy?”
Just last week a friend who had viewed the video wrote asking if she could share it with a couple devastated by the tragic death of their son. After viewing it, the couple decided they wanted Note to Self shown at the funeral after the opening song. They said the video was such a sensitive way to address what so many were feeling and set the tone for the service and conversations afterward. Others attending the funeral have requested to share it with their friends. You may want to do the same. (www.vimeo.com/innovationteam/notetoself)
God keeps opening doors for me to minister to those in grief and I am honored to walk step by step with Him through them. Thank you for your prayers and vital financial support!
Oh so grateful,