The Standard February 19, 2020
Two weeks ago, during torrential morning showers, the Sugg family experienced a tragedy almost beyond comprehension. Kevin, by all accounts an incredibly nice guy, was struck and killed by a hydroplaning car. He was a dear husband and devoted father of two student-athletes who was a fixture at Farmville games and practices. His surviving wife, son, daughter, mother, brother, extended family and numerous friends are left trying to make sense of it all. How could we lose such a young, wonderful person? Where is God in all of this? Unfortunately, this is familiar territory for many people.
The most we can do is pray. All of us can do that for Kevin’s loved ones or those left in the wake of any sorrow. Individuals close to the family can help simply by being present. Words might not be necessary. After a tragic event like this, people who have walked through similar situations often can offer unique empathy and comfort. The Apostle Paul writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-9)
Jesus starts the Sermon on the Mount by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:3-4)
Ultimately, God is the best comforter. Jesus understands our pain. He suffered, was tortured and died a cruel death. God the Father watched how his only Son was mockingly mistreated. The Holy Spirit was given to us to be our comforter and counselor.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1-4)
Life on this earth is far from perfect. Bad things happen to good people. We are confounded when certain events go the way they do. Through all of it, God remains faithful. Through the grieving process God can transform our mourning. God can take the ashes of our despair and bring good things to our lives when it might have seemed like there was little hope. We look forward to John’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’ And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21: 3 -5)