Tragedy is a wound meant to kill. A lie destroying the foundation of a marriage of 50 years is a wound meant to kill. Heartbreak is its own form of tragedy–comprised of many facets and multifarious permeations in the human spirit– undermining the very balance we as humans tend to assume is our only source of security before we understand and accept within us, the presence of God’s omnipotence through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
The question remains: How do we come back from life-altering, Earth-shattering tragedies; shell shocking betrayals, and perspective-changing heartbreaks?
(John 16:33) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
When Jesus said, this, He was both warning us of what is to come, and also giving us the solution at the same time. Notice He didn’t tell us, “Take heart! As long as you make enough money you’ll be fine,” and He didn’t say, “Take heart! As long as you find the most loving human being you can, everything will work out okay.” No. He tells us He has overcome the world. He’s reminding us that He’s the one who died on the cross, He’s the one who rose from the dead, and He’s the One with the power to get to the Father; not some finite number of good deeds we’ve done to earn our way past our mistakes predating heartbreak and adversity.
This is particularly important to note, readers, when we’re in the very middle of an emotional onslaught of stress, struggle, or tragedy. Think about this– if we were to become instinctually dependent on the hope and power of Jesus, imagine how much stronger we’d be to get through each and every battle hurled our way by the enemy (sin, evil temptation, the Devil)! The only way is through Jesus; not your job, not your marriage, not knowledge, and not status. Just Jesus. That’s it.
There is literally nothing you could do– not even if you spent every waking second of your human life trying– to become “okay” in God’s eyes, if you disbelieve in Jesus:
(John 14:16) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus isn’t setting up a trap, He’s opening the door (a trap is designed to catch and retain what it captures. God’s invitation is based on free will from start to finish; meaning, if we don’t want Him, we can either avoid the door altogether, or leave whenever we’d like. There are no locks on the doors. God’s loving power is enough to keep us safe from any one thing in existence. We are constantly free to disobey and to be selfish. But God’s promises are so rich, fulfilling, permanent, and transcendently unconditional, that we are most likely never to want to be anywhere else but inside with Him). He’s inviting every last human being inside to have a personal relationship with Him so that we’ll grow together in union with Him. Through this developed relationship, we come to understand what it feels like to have God as our Rock and Redeemer; Shepard, and Lion of Judah. If God is for us and not against us, why would we not come running to that door rather than walking away from it and towards worldly hedonism?
Many people do not understand the radical joy of the Truth of Jesus Christ. Or they understand it through knowledge but refuse to let the joy itself permeate their being and rejuvenate their souls. They hear about Jesus, but the pictures they draw in their mind’s eye remains two-dimensional and unmoving, dwindling away as a useless inspiration as they experience life in reality is multi-dimensial, chaotic, threatening; seemingly unfair, and traumatizing. But that two-dimensional Jesus is not the Jesus I speak of. My Jesus, the Christian Jesus, cannot be contained inside only two-dimensions. He reigns outside of all dimensions with the Father God of Heaven, and though He is capable of the transcendence of time and space dimensions, He is still able–He, in fact, chooses to–come back into our confining dimensional plane of existence to help us Himself, personally.
Every day, I am able to remind myself that Jesus died for me. He died for everyone, and that includes me (and for your sake, that includes you). That’s a very humbling truth. But the best part of that story is that Jesus didn’t stay dead. He came back to life and called the bluff of every person who ever doubted Him. Everything that happened was for the glory of God in Heaven, and He officially made it possible to be with God if we accept Jesus into our hearts. For those who feel threatened by this invitation, it’s usually because of a lifestyle choice they don’t want to give up, and therefore they do not feel the “need for Christ” the way Christians have come to understand to be a worthy surrender, after recognizing the selfishness behind the intentions leading to rebellion (sin).
Many seculars and agnostics are under the impression that the walk of faith with Jesus is boring, limited, and constricting—-and they don’t want to lose the time to do their hobbies or spend time with their friends. I would like to clear that fog. With certainty, this walk of faith with Jesus is anything but boring or constricting. Various groups of Christians go on mission trips quite often throughout the year to third world countries to spread the news of Jesus in the most dangerous of places. Is that boring? Others pray together about the most severe and traumatizing life battles people of the faith need counsel and support in getting through. This is not a boring life; this is a much more satisfying, fulfilling life than that of partying and staying up late, filling our minds with all things ephemeral.
We could be helping someone else believe and embrace the truth that they matter– like they exist— by praying for them and listening to them open up with vulnerability. In turn, we could share our own struggles with them so that we, too, don’t feel invalidated in a world strung up by its feet with status, money, and luxury. We don’t need that (That will come in Heaven, anyways! The streets are made of gold, for crying out loud–)! But we do need to be lovingly and compassionately reminded that we matter, that we are cared for, that our existence counts for something. That is all a part of the walk of faith with Christ. His ministry is founded on love, so there is nothing more important than that of each of us helping each other by loving each other, listening to one another, and giving of our time to make those realities coincide during a life of hardship and battling pain and stress.
Tragedy strikes and the first thing we turn to is isolation, or blaming the pain on theology for the mere sake that if such a thing exists— it must be evil—because theology is the closest concept to that which parallels the perimeters of the meaning and purpose of life, death, and pain (on Earth). Those people focus on theology only when they need to point fingers and place censure. This is a detrimentally misconstrued notion of the distinction of Christianity from other theologies, not separating acknowledgment of our mistakes (again, sin) caused by our abuse of free will from positing the power of Christ’s ability to make all things new is dismissible as a fallacy; abdicating God from the befitting picture of a healing Savior, and shoving Him (as if we could) into the illusory, pejoratively crass box of omnipotently forcing the suffering and agonies of human life without a solid reason. How is this misguided thinking any more fair or rational than disbelieving in God when people can’t just point “over there” and divulge God standing empirically before them? God does not take a step back so that we can doubt Him, He steps back so we have the space to choose Him. And when we choose Him, He comes running back to us out of pure unconditional love. Placing God in a box of blame is not commensurate with life’s struggles; it is the representation of how little we know, and how little we acknowledge the perfect love and sovereign power of a God humble and willing enough to send His own Son to die for a species who would rather blame Him than follow Him.
When we suffer, we don’t suffer alone, and when we suffer while assuming God is out for our worst, laughing “up there on His throne” while we live in emotional turmoil down here– we are facing the truth of the hope of Jesus with facetiousness, corruption, and belittlement of His truest motives. He came down off of His throne two thousands years ago and bled more than most humans ever have. And He did it because He couldn’t bear the thought of being without us. He couldn’t bear the thought of not having His children with Him, so He came down and became flesh. Why would an omnipotent God do such a thing if He was too busy laughing at our torture, misery, suffering, cancer, disease, and death? He would have missed the whole show if He’d been laughing. No!!! He couldn’t take it at all! So He got down immediately and rescued us Himself with His very hands nailed to a wooden cross.
That’s the God we have hope in; that’s the God who sits or lays with us as we cry during our most trying moments–never leaving our side. He is “closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24) and our almighty God. He will never forsake us or abandon us. He is for us and not against us. He proved His loved for us by dying for us, and He followed through on all His prophesies and promises by resurrecting again. Never again need we worry about whether Jesus was just a crazy carpenter boy who told some wise stories. He is God Incarnate, He is the answer to every problem. When He doesn’t speak, He acts. Jesus is always beside us, and if we can’t feel His embrace, we must slow down and make an intention to call for Him to come closer. We need not be afraid; He is the lamp unto our feet and the very Light of Heaven! If there’s anything we want by our side, it’s Jesus!
If you’re experiencing a trauma in your life that you need closure with, I would encourage you to embrace the Truth of Jesus. He will embrace you with comfort, closure, and tender love. He is the Samaritan who takes care of every lost person, He is the friend who never gives up, and the God who knows the count of every hair on your head. He knows your best and your worst aspects and loves you for it all! There is no one greater to experience peace, grace, compassion, love, and tenderness from than the Lord God who frees us from our chains in this Earthly life. We need never fear the chains of evil again; He has overcome every last one. We walk forth in confident strides that He will provide for every need, and we remain obedient to everything He tells us. He will carry us through our worst hardships and land us safely back on our feet when we’re ready to carry ourselves, but He will always be by our side should we fall again. That is how much our God cares; He never leaves, no matter what!
We all experience wounds and traumas that, in the moment, make us believe will be the death of us. They will not. Our hope is in Christ, and our healing is in Christ. Through Him–healing, growth, development, and recovery are all made new. If you need His embrace, simply call on Him by name. There is power of healing in the name of Jesus. You may access this in relationship with Him. If you don’t know Him, now is the perfect time to be introduced. I can tell you is that the wounds of this world do not match our ability to cope. With Christ, nothing will ever defeat us; not heartbreak, not tragedy– nor pain or suffering. These will only bring us closer to Christ, and in our intimacy with Jesus, we will be made whole and new.
Be not afraid! Put all of your hope in Jesus, and love Him with all of your heart, all of your mind, all of your strength, and all of your soul. You will be blessed for the humble surrender of your heart, and lifted high by the God of Creation. Wounds of the past will never have the last word. If you’re experiencing pain today, remember that it isn’t the end until Jesus returns. There is hope in this news, and there is healing. Jesus will heal you, whether physically or spiritually (or both). All we need to do is put our trust in Him. He will do the rest.