Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hope in the time of tragedy

Hope in the shadow of tragedy

Some might ask, where is God in the situations of tragedy?  But the better question is ‘Where is man in the situations of tragedy?’

We must recognize that in our world are great forces of evil against the forces of good.  In this article I would like to focus on the human factor as presented by Jude. Yes, that little book  near the end of the Bible, is so relevant to the past and present tragedies.

If men would turn to the Lord, then might God intervene, but no, mankind wants to go it alone, go their own way!

In the book of Jude a list of historical tragedies is given:
1st -Verse 4 -  Many Israelites died for choosing to live immoral lives. –tragedy
2nd –The angels that went beyond the limits of their God given authority – they are still bound in prisons of darkness awaiting the day of judgement.-tragedy.
3rd  - The people of Sodom and Gomorrah delighted in every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire from heaven and the people await the day of judgement. – tragedy
4th –False teachers who mock and curse the things they do not understand. They bring about their own destruction. –tragedy.
5th – Those who like Cain, hate and kill even their own family – tragedy
6th – Those who like Balaam, will do anything for money – tragedy.
7th – Those who like Korah, rebel against God given authority – tragedy

So many of these are like wandering stars, heading for everlasting doom and darkness.
They are grumblers and complainers, doing whatever evil they feel like. They are loud mouthed braggarts, and they flatter others to get favours in return. – tragedy!
What a horror list – yet what an accurate description of our world!

What hope is there?

In the beginning of history, God came to Adam in the garden to communicate spiritual blessing. Tragedy broke that fellowship, BUT God still sought connection with Adam and Eve. The Lord still continued to connect with Cain and Abel. Through history, God has continued to reach out to individuals who repent and believe in Him. Noah preached righteousness so that the people might be delivered from tragedy. So in modern history, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has called people to Repent . Many individuals have responded . They have found a nearness to God that impels them to bless others like Jesus did. Sometimes like a Luther, a Wilberforce, but mostly it has been the salt , light and kindness of the millions who have come to know Jesus Christ in a personal way.

Jude gives hope and good advice to his readers:

Verse 1     ‘You are called to live in the love of God the Father and the care of Jesus Christ .’
Verse 3    ‘ you are to defend the Gospel.’
Verse 15    ‘ Understand that God will bring the people of the world to judgement.’
Verse 17    ‘You must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you.’
Verse 20    ‘you must continue to build your lives on the foundation of your holy faith, praying in the Spirit.’
Verse 21    ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God , looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life’
Verse 22    'showing mercy to others'

Verse 24,25     Let the praise begin to God who is Holy, who is the Saviour, for He is worthy.

I encourage you to read this little book of Jude again. See God in righteous judgement and see God in abundant grace. By this means, tragedy can become a triumph.

Something to ponder – ‘why is there not greater tragedy as punishment for sin?’
The answer is – ‘God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish.’

John McKee

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