Right Thinking in the Face of Tragedy

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Focus Scripture: Luke 13:1-5 ESV

There were some present at that very time who told him about
the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans
were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because
they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless
you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen
on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them:
do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others
who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent,
you will all likewise perish.”


Portions of today’s devotion have been taken from
“Supernatural Lessons from a Natural Disaster”
by John MacArthur

Wrong Thinking vs Right Thinking:
If things are going good then you must be a good person.
If things are going bad then you must be a bad person.

The common thinking of the day in New Testament times
was that if you had calamitous events in your life,
it was because you were a bad person.
It was the judgment of God on you.
For example in the Gospel of John chapter 9,
there was a man born blind and the Jews said, “Okay,
who sinned, this man or his parents that he would be blind?”
Human calamity, disaster, and illness was related to sin.
If you were alive and you were doing well, it meant
that you must be a good person.

That way of thinking has continued far beyond
New Testament times!

In 1861 there were a couple of severe calamities
that occurred in London. One of them was a train wreck in which
23 people were killed. The other was a tunnel disaster
which killed quite a number of people. This became such an
issue among Christian people that Spurgeon preached a sermon
on those two accidents from this text. It was September 8, 1861, and
he preached a sermon to dispel the absurd idea that God killed those
people because they were traveling on a Sunday. We wouldn’t have
a congregation if that was the way God operated. But there was this
crazy idea that, you know, if you breach the Sabbath,
God may kill you in a tunnel disaster or crash your train.

What about today?
What do events like these events mean? What does it mean when a
tower collapses and kills indiscriminately Christians,
non-Christians, adults, children, evil people and moral people?
What does it mean when a plane goes down and everybody
dies without regard for their relative morality, or spirituality
or knowledge of God? What’s the point? Is God picking
on certain people by assembling them together in the right
place to just kill them all?

We know a lot of very wretched,
evil, wicked people who are doing very well. They’re healthy
and prosperous and living long lives and doing everything they
can to corrupt our culture. And we know some very good people
who died in terrible calamities…car wrecks, train wrecks,
illnesses, even hurricanes.

We still struggle to think biblically in the face of
tragedy and disaster.
We must be careful with our thoughts.
We must take every thought captive to obey Christ.
We do not understand or know the mind of God.
He is God and we are not.

So when tragedy hits someone,
it isn’t that we must be better than the people who have
experienced tragedy because we haven’t experienced tragedy.
No. God has been merciful.

It isn’t that we must be better than the people who died
because we haven’t died.
No. God has been merciful.

Conversely if tragedy hits us it doesn’t mean that we
are worse than other people.

If death or illness comes it doesn’t mean that
we are loved less by God.


When people go through great trial and difficulty they
don’t need our judgment, they don’t need our platitudes,
they need the love of Christ.

When people are suffering
they need God’s love, grace, and truth
and they need our love, kindness,
compassion, and prayers.

When we are hurting
we need the same.

We are called to weep
with those who weep, help both those
who are suffering and comfort
and encourage those in trial.

Romans 12:9-21
9 Let love be genuine.
10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in
showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation,
be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints
and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you;
bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another.
Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise
in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give
thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible,
so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved,
never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God,
for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
20 To the contrary,”if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty,
give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap
burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil,
but overcome evil with good.


Choose one truth from today and apply it to your heart.
Take it with you throughout the day.


Heavenly Father,
Lord, please give us a heart of love and compassion for others.
Help us turn to you in the face of tragedy.
Please grant us grace to turn fully from our foolish
and unbiblical ways of thinking.
Lord give us eyes to see those who are hurting and
those who need encouragement.
Help us extend the love of Christ.

In His hands for His glory,


—A Thistlebend Ministries eMoment devotion. To have eMoments emailed to your inbox, subscribe on the bottom right of our Home page.

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