Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘tragedy’

When Disaster Strikes

Boston_Bombing

(Photo from Military Friends Foundation in news.yahoo.com)

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

No rational person wants bad things to happen, but if there is one thing to be sure of in this fallen world, catastrophes do occur. What do we do then? Do we get angry, do we fall apart, do we start pointing fingers before the smoke even clears? If you happen to find yourself in the middle of the event, hopefully you are one of the courageous people who drops everything to help those in need.

Those of us who witness the tragedy from afar may have a wider range of choices of how to respond to the news. In the closing chapters of I Samuel, David experienced a devastating trial and his response is worth studying. He and his exiled army were based with their families in the city of Ziklag. Upon returning from a mission, they found that their city had been sacked and burned and all their loved ones had been taken captive. The first response was to grieve. I Samuel 30:4 says that David and his men “lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep. (NKJV)” So much for the stoic, burly he-man image; visualize an army of 600 warriors crying until there were no more tears to shed.

The next response was not unusual; the men turned on David and talked about killing him. David’s grief quickly turned to despair, but verse 6 says that “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” Here is where reading the Bible chronologically is so great. In Psalm 18, David records his prayer that strengthened him in the face of this adversity. David’s next reaction was to seek God’s guidance on the approach to be taken; go after the captors or not? God’s answer was clear: pursue them and you will get every person and everything back. David then went to the angry mob and rallied them to a more appropriate course of action.

I can hear you thinking, “Good for David, but I have asked God for guidance before and I never hear anything from Him.” True, we may not hear the voice of God clearly telling us what to do. Here is the key: as we develop a closer relationship with God by reading His word the Bible, as we spend time in prayer with Him every day, as we seek Him in all things, our path will become clearer every step of the way. It may not happen overnight, but remember that your journey with God is a lifelong one that stretches into eternity. Patience and faithfulness are required to develop a deeper trust in God; He will give you the wisdom to do the right thing in every situation you encounter in life.

For now, we can follow David’s example: grieve, strengthen yourself in the Lord, seek God’s guidance and then act accordingly.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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Call Me “Mara”

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By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The Biblical book of Ruth is just four chapters long, but is rich in lessons of faithfulness and redemption. As the story goes, Naomi was a Jewish woman who moved with her husband and their two sons to the neighboring country of Moab because of a famine in Israel. During their stay in Moab, Naomi’s husband and both of her married sons died. If the story ended right there, it would indeed be a heartbreaking story. I have never experienced the death of a spouse or children, but I know those who have and the feelings of loss and sorrow never leave. To experience the death of one’s entire family can only be summed up with Naomi’s words when she returned to Israel, “Call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” (Ruth 1:20)

Despite Naomi’s extreme anguish, she did not lose her faith in God, nor did she deny her feelings throughout the ordeal. She did not understand the reason why God had taken her family and never knew the whole story until she was in God’s presence. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, refused to leave Naomi’s side and vowed to stay with her for the rest of her life. Ruth’s faithfulness was noticed by Boaz, a wealthy and single farmer from whose barley fields Ruth gathered leftover grain to feed Naomi and herself. The story has a happy ending, in that Boaz married Ruth and Naomi was able to cuddle her grandson, Obed. What Naomi did not know was that Obed would grow up to be King David’s grandfather, in the direct family line of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Since we all live in a fallen, corrupt world, we need to know that bad things happen and may very well happen to us. How we deal with disaster is of greatest importance. Losing our faith in God, who loves us and has promised never to leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) is the greatest tragedy of all. If we trust that God knows what He is doing and that He is carrying us through our times of calamity and grief, we will come out on the other side with a stronger faith and broader perspective than we ever thought possible. We may never know why the bad things happened, but even that can be used for good if we cling to our faith in God.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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