When Tragedy Strikes: How Can I Survive?


In this series we noticed that:

  1. Bad Happens Because we Live in a World Cursed by Sin.
  2. Bad Things Happen Because of Satan’s Continued Activity in the World.

But what do we do when tragedy strikes? How can we survive what are seemingly catastrophic events? Jesus will tell us that how we build our life determines how we survive, “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27.

As we consider what Jesus had to say, let’s first define His terminology. Our House is the Life we are Building. While we are in this house we will face the changing circumstances of life. If you have lived any amount of time you already know that life’s moments are for better and for worse. Our building, our life, will face more than a few storms.

Our Foundation is the Philosophy we Build Our Life On. Our life philosophy might be original, borrowed, adapted, or learned, but we default to that philosophy to get us by when life becomes a challenge. I took some time to look up a few different philosophies that people claim. Some of them sound healthy at first reading and some appear far-fetched.

  • “To have some deep feeling about Buddhism is not the point; we just do what we should do, like eating supper and going to bed. This is Buddhism.” ― Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice.
  • “Anyone can grow into something beautiful.” ― Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Language of Flowers.
  • “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” ― Craig Lancaster, Quantum Physics and the Art of Departure.
  • “Focus on making yourself better, not on thinking that you are better.” ― Bohdi Sanders, The Secrets of Worldly Wisdom: Your Key to Unlocking Success.
  • “Have a big enough heart to love unconditionally, and a broad enough mind to embrace the differences that make each of us unique.”― D.B. Harrop.
  • “Think, Travel, Celebrate, Charm, Decorate, Dress, Live – colorfully” ― Kate Spade, Becoming Myself: Reflections on Growing Up Female.
  • “Live each day as if it were your last, for one day, you’re sure to be right.” ― Kenneth G. Ross.
  • “Life is such a journey on a sea of constant waves and splashing desires.” ― Nadina Boun.

Will these philosophies shore us up through every storm?

There are physical literal storms of life. They arrive in the form of tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, windstorms, and blizzards. These so-called natural disasters may destroy homes, ruin possessions, or even result in the death of one

Watching the weather last night.

Watching the weather last night.

we dearly love. How we respond reveals the strength of our life’s foundation. When tragedy strikes are we emotionally devastated? When the storm causes great damage are we spiritually devastated? Do we have the intestinal fortitude to stand strong, keep calm, and will ourselves to continue? Or do we rely on God and His people to help us through?

There are also physical figurative storms of life. They come in the forms of things like major illnesses, the death of a family member or a very close friend. They include financial failure or job loss. They can be disasters like fires or automobile accidents. These events can take away our loved ones, damage our health, damage our home, or destroy our possessions. How we respond reveals the strength of our life’s foundation. When tragedy strikes are we emotionally devastated? When the storm causes great damage are we spiritually devastated? Do we have the intestinal fortitude to stand strong, keep calm, and will ourselves to continue? Or do we rely on God and His people to help us through?

Life on earth teaches us the hard lesson that the longer we live the more storms we will face until we face our final storm.

We will take a look at our final storm in our final post coming later this week.

– Scott

P.S. I planned this series long before I knew that there was the possibility of strong thunderstorms and tornadoes in the Southeastern United States (April 28, 2014). Please keep those impacted by the recent storms in your thoughts and prayers.

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