What To Do When Tragedy Strikes

The horrific events in Paris over the weekend, continued tragedy in war-torn regions of the world, political and social unrest, and more have flooded the headlines and broken our hearts.

There are so many questions that run through our minds in times like this…

How could this happen?

Why would people commit such evil acts?

Could it happen where we live?

How do we even begin to turn the tide?

Certainly, governmental leaders from around the world have tough decisions to make in the coming months. I’m sure we all have opinions regarding what actions they should or should not take. I won’t get into that discussion here.

However, one key point has stuck out to me as I watch the news coverage and think about these events. What I keep coming back to is the vital role of Christians and of the church in these moments.

We have hope regardless of the circumstances.

We serve a God who sacrificed His own Son to provide a path for a restored relationship with us.

We know the answer to hopelessness, evil, fear, and every question imaginable is in Christ.

We’re to be His hands and feet on this earth, pointing people to our Savior by our actions and our words.

The work you do to spread the Gospel, help believers grow in their faith, and serve others is so incredibly important. Your congregation and community need to see church leaders who, though you’re also grieved and wonder what’s next, are still trusting in God.

They need to be reminded of the hope that does not disappoint…of the fact that “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b).

They need help figuring out how to talk with their children about these events and how to deal with their own emotions.

And they need you to point them back to Scripture to know how to react in these moments.

Whether you’re the pastor preparing an upcoming sermon, a youth leader trying to answer questions from those in your youth group, or an accountant keeping the church finances on-point, your work matters. It matters here on earth and impacts eternity. Please don’t ever lose sight of how much people need hope, direction, and a sense of purpose that can only come from their Heavenly Father. As you handle a myriad of details this week, pause for a few moments to remember why you’re in ministry. The world needs Christians to demonstrate the love of Christ and to tell them of the hope they can have in Him. Your work is important.

As we pray for those whose lives are forever changed by these heartbreaking events, let’s also ask God to give wisdom and direction to church leaders serving in the communities impacted. They’re likely facing officiating funerals, comforting loved ones, and trying to help their communities heal from the emotional impact. They’re trying to console others even as they try to somehow process their own emotions.

Let’s remind ourselves of the hope we have in Christ and share that hope with those around us. It’s hard to do sometimes in our 24-hour news cycle, but it’s incredibly important that we not lose heart.

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Galatians 6:9