Tragedy

I have often thought how nice it would be if we didn't have to feel any pain; only if tragedy never knocked on our door. But, alas, it does. It seems like it knocks on some doors more than others at times, too. When it visits the lives of those I love, it visits me through empathy. Such is the case today.

My brother called me early this morning. Already, I was having a tough morning with a problem at work that came to my attention around 7:15 via e-mail. Barely into my first cup of coffee-- and already there was trouble. Potentially big trouble. Certainly an annoying problem, at best. Then the phone rang and it was my brother. I didn't try to hide my displeasure at his early morning phone call, because I assumed he was having an issue with his computer (he has called me several times recently with an ongoing computer problem). I immediately changed my attitude when I realized he was crying and told me of the death of one of his dogs, who apparently drowned in a lake in New Jersey. She was an older dog and may have had a heart attack-- it's hard to know for sure. Either way, she is gone and both he and my sister-in-law are understandably distraught with grief. Both my wife and I are also deeply saddened, as we knew the dog for many years and she was a wonderful, loving creature. They had two dogs, who were frequent visitors to our home when my brother and his wife Mary showed up. It won't be the same. It never is.

We live in a fallen world where pain and death are common. God did not wish for it to be that way-- His Word makes that clear to us. Nonetheless, armed with that fact does not make the grief any less when facing a painful loss. The only comfort that can be derived (for me ) comes from God and His Word. I was, once again, reminded of that this morning by a friend and brother in Christ. I texted my friend and told him of my problems this morning and asked for prayer. Knowing that I would need to call my brother again and talk to both him and Mary, I was floundering for the right words to say. Finally, I left it to God after being reminded of the need to do so by some verses my friend sent me in a text. Allow me to share those verses with you now: Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share this same comfort with others in trouble. -2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (CEV)

God has always provided comfort to me when I need it. I may not have always chosen to take it-- but it was always there. It could come from any number of sources-- even perhaps a kind word from a stranger. All I know is encouragement is always provided, and (thanks to the Holy Spirit) the strength and brains to accept it. Paul wrote in the verses above that we can share the comfort of His love with those around us. Once again, that was proven true this morning in my dealings with my brother and Mary. I called him back (something I wanted to put off as I pondered what "I" could say to make the situation any better) after reading those passages of scripture. God gave me the words as I yielded to Him. I told them something that was said to me when I lost my little dog Bailey a few years ago and was lamenting the fact that they live such short lives. Dogs need not spend as much time here on Earth as people do, because they are born knowing how to do certain  things we spend a lifetime learning-- such as how to love. Perhaps the last statement is not biblically easy to prove, but it does usually fit the facts.

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