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Friday, April 19, 2013

A Perspective in Tragedy

This has been a horrible week in the United States. First, double bomb blasts killed three people in Boston. Then, there was a horrific fertilizer factory explosion in West, Texas. In each place, more than 160 people were injured and several lost their lives.

In Boston, it was a terrorist attack on a normal sporting event. The dead include a little boy and two young women. Many of the injured have life-changing injuries—including the little sister of the boy who died. It is so sad, so needless, so wrong.

As far as we know, the Texas explosion was an accident, but the results are the same: deaths and injuries. Some are fighting for their lives. Some will be left with scars—or worse. Surely some of the people affected are confused and traumatized.

In both Boston and Texas, each injured person represents a family affected by tragedy. Many people are praying for them, and many are helping them. It’s what we should do. The Bible tells us to bear . . . one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2). We’re to help those who hurt.

My thoughts go to other places in the world where, this week, there also were tragedies. In Iran and Pakistan, a 7.8 earthquake killed at least 35 people and injured hundreds more. Homes and livelihoods were destroyed. The media barely covered the earthquake, though we’ve watched over and over again the explosions in Boston and in West. Granted, the area in Iran-Pakistan is remote. But, each of those people who were killed or injured in the earthquake is also a person. He has a family. Probably, people in that area were very traumatized.

The killing continues in Syria. In some African and Asian countries, people die from senseless attacks on nearly a daily basis. They are people, too.

Worldwide, so far this year, over twelve million babies lost their lives through abortion. They were killed before they had the opportunity to see their mothers’ faces. Twelve million children!

It’s not that the deaths of that little boy in Boston and potentially children in Texas aren’t terrible. They are. Each child is precious to God, and we should acutely feel his loss.

We should also feel the loss of the little ones we never saw, those whose lives were terminated, not by accident or terror, but by their own mothers.

Why are there huge memorial services for those killed by accidents and terror in one country, and we don’t even necessarily know about those killed on a sometimes daily basis in a country we don’t happen to live in?

Does it affect us deeply when a Nigerian or Indian Christian is killed because of his faith? Do we weep about Christians whose homes are burned down?

Do we pray for the families of thousands of coal miners who lose their lives at work each year?

Another thought: do we value adult deaths as we do children’s deaths? (Oh yes, it is horrible when a child dies. We always think about the lost opportunity, the life he could have had.)

But, life is life. It’s as awful for an adult to needlessly lose his life as it is for a child.
(Think of the two beautiful young women who also lost their lives in Boston and the volunteer emergency responders who were killed in Texas.)

As Christians, I believe we have a debt to the world. Time is short. We don’t know how long we have to impact a life for Christ. The Apostle Paul put it this way: I am a debtor (to all people.) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Romans 1:14-16). Paul sensed his obligation to spread the gospel to everyone.

So should we.

May our Christian perspective of the value of human life cause us to value every soul. May we share Christ with everyone, as God gives us opportunity. May we pray for those who have suffered loss and mourn with them. May we help. And, may we value the life of a person who lives far away as much as we value that of our brothers and neighbors.

May God give us His perspective.

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