North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

This column is Part II of last week’s “Living With Purpose” column that addressed the challenges of coping with tragedies, sorrow, and grief. None of us could have expected the horrific event that took place in our community four days after Part I of this column was posted. The hardships we have to experience in life cut us deep and problems can cause us to feel hopeless. Even to the point of wondering if we’ll ever be able to smile again. No one has been excused from physical death in this life and if we love anyone at all anywhere, we’re going to eventually know grief when that person dies. We must all catch the fact that God has something very definite and practical to say in suffering. Although, we may not understand on this earth why some particular thing happened as it did, God does have an answer. God holds the solution to your grief. We have God’s Word and the hope that He will help us deal with the tragedies He allows to affect us. God doesn’t send tragedies, but His permissive will allows them to happen.
God created an orderly universe. The laws governing motion and gravity are in operation all the time. God has and will perform miracles at times. And we can’t anticipate why He does some times and not at others. We are not His “cosmic pets”, but we can trust God to know what He’s doing. Our part is to be willing to accept, without feeling sorry for ourselves. What if Jesus, while on the Cross felt sorry for himself when the nails were driven into his hands and feet?
When tragedy comes to you, look to God and follow His example when He himself faced the worst tragedy that could happen to anyone—the Cross of Calvary! Christ hung there and said in the midst of his suffering, “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34). God took the “world’s” ultimate tragedy and turned it into the world’s ultimate VICTORY! He saved us through his sorrow and suffering. He made use of his tragedy and he will help show you a way to make use of every bit of your suffering. God is willing to show you how to use your tragedy. But you must be open-minded and courageous enough to listen to Him and do what He says.
Life’s tragedies, hardships, and heartbreaks, whether they come from death, illness, accident, or broken friendships, can either make us or break us. All around us we see people dealing with sorrow. But just as surely as the hard-knocks of life can make us stumble and fall; they can push us forward if we let them.
How can God comfort a person who’s in sorrow or trouble? How can a mother, father, son, daughter, or friend be brought back? They can’t be brought back. God comforts us by giving us a way to use the very thing that makes us cry. Read the words of 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
We have God’s example of suffering to save us. We’re not God, but as a Christian you should have the Holy Spirit inside you. Therefore, the Holy Spirit inside of you must be revived to help during our troubles and our victories. This is the critical point that when tragedy strikes, we must have God’s Spirit to help us deal with it. People without God’s help, can feel hopeless and alone. But a Christian has within them the Holy Spirit; to use their suffering to comfort one another. Grief and sorrow are facts of life that can overbear our emotions. Grief, if handled improperly can swamp you, fill you with bitterness, and throw you into despair that can paralyze your will-to-live! This is why it’s so important that you allow God to enter into your own suffering. God’s Spirit will tell you, “You and I can take this hurt and find a way to use it so that you, My Child, will grow in spiritual maturity and depth of character. Then you’ll be able to help other people whose lives are also struck with sorrow.”
How does God comfort us? By His presence and through the tears He sees fall from your face. Imagine God standing beside you, collecting your tears in His hands and loving you as you let them flow. By giving us a way not to waste our tears, we will see much more clearly how God will love us through our most trying times. And as a result of the difficulty we’ll see just how much He loves us.
We can summarize the topic of tragedies and sorrow like this: Heartaches and sorrow will come to everyone and grief is a natural response to tragedy. Jesus experienced grief and can help us deal with ours. God’s comfort can only be felt by those who trust Him. And because of universal laws, tragedies will be allowed by God. Tragedies and suffering can make or break us depending on our response to them. So, choose to embrace God and accept His help as you can help others that are going through sorrows too.
God can be trusted and it’s my prayer you are able to find this to be true. Take the time to get alone with God and share what is troubling you. Cast all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you!
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at


Posted by on Oct 19 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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