In tragedy and loss, how can we be encouraged

Little did I know how timely my blog post would be when I posted it last Saturday.  http://thankfulinallthings.com/when-the-storms-of-adversity-come-is-your-life-on-a-firm-foundation/ Tragedy hit suddenly on Sunday when a fellow student shot and killed three members of the UVA football team and injured another football player and a manager of the track team.  https://blog.uvahealth.com/2022/11/17/tragedy-at-uva/ This event pushed forward the need for Having a firm foundation when adversity comes our way. 

Someone I know wrote me after we received an email where the sender used the words, “We’re so grateful and Be encouraged”  He raised the question how can someone write these words after such a horrific act took place?  I have thought a lot about that question and waited until after the memorial service for these 3 fine young men to try and put my answer into words. 

Two comments that were made by UVA football coach, Tony Elliott, shed some light on why we can be grateful and encouraged. 
First, this tragedy will be turned into triumph. Psalms 30:5 reminds us, “Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” He went on to say, “we may not know how long the night will last but just like the morning our joy will return. Lavell, D’Sean, and Devin would want it that way.  Several teammates spoke and time and time again they shared how grateful they were to have had these guys in their lives and that they would carry them in their hearts forever.  The second comment he made was “doing hard stuff brings people together.”  We can be encouraged and find how to be thankful in all things when we are reminded that adversity bring Unity.  This was evident around the country. In solidarity, former coaches wore UVA gear as they coached for their current teams.  https://twitter.com/CoachAtuaia/status/1593429347649699842?s=20&t=UaNbcTLtULl4UPeH8lskNQ  Schools shined blue and orange on their buildings.  UVA and Baylor basketball teams met at mid-court to pray after their game Friday night.  Baylor also wrote notes to their opponents http://bit.ly/uvaandbaylorprayaftergame 

How do we find gratitude and encouragement in the midst of sadness and loss?  By having a firm foundation that comes from having confidence and hope in the promised word of God as revealed to you. It is taking God at His words knowing that He is too faithful to fail, and will never go back on His promises.  Promises like Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” There was no doubt yesterday that the families of Lavel, Devin, and D’Sean and those who spoke had that confidence and hope.I believe they left the service yesterday with sadness but grateful to the Lord for the encouragement they have received. They understand their hope is not in this world but in the world to come promising them that yes, they will see their loved ones again.
I hope you have been encouraged by what I have written this week.  I can be reached by email at [email protected]  For those interested, here is a link to the entire memorial service.  I think it is well worth watching https://youtu.be/HkUYAmu5-hA

3 Replies to “In tragedy and loss, how can we be encouraged”

  1. Said God can’t be as “brokenhearted” as I, if his OWN son — per Matthew 10:34 — bragged: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth.” Then, like Trump, Jesus is redundant, and continues: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    “Fine people,” I suppose. “On BOTH sides[?].”

    Enough with the enemies, and the suffering and ESPECIALLY Jesus’s dopey good-for-nothing WEAPON…!!!

    1. Your interpretation of this passage is incorrect. Matthew 10:34–36 describes Jesus telling the disciples that He came not to bring peace to the world, but a sword. Jesus’ sword was never a literal one. In fact, when Peter took up a sword to defend Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus rebuked him and told him to put away his sword, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

  2. Well said Michael! What the enemy meant for evil, God is turning to good! We are blessed at UVA to have wonderful Christian coaches and a strong FCA presence bringing Christ’s love and light into this world.

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