Encountering God in the Midst of Tragedy, Disappointment, & Pain


Photo Credit: Time Warp Wife (Pinterest)

“Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress…Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. “ Psalm 36:3-11.

We live in a sinful world. It is a world not immune to tragedy. It is a world that if studied for long periods of time can bring great grief, pain, and hurt. If that is where the story ended, we could cry and live depressed lives. Life will hurt. Disappointments will come. No person is immune from the potential of disaster or a tragedy striking. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

I would not be able to write this post if I had not walked through my own personal tragedies with God. The unexpected phone call. The friends who have betrayed me. The loved one who didn’t get healed. The loss of something held dear. Or even an accident that changes life forever. I’ve been there. For seven years I felt I lived there. Year after year it seemed someone was dying or a part of my life was dying. I spent most of my teens and early twenties trying to survive. My life is still not immune from trials, hardships, or pain. This year alone I’ve lost three aunts, was in a car accident that totaled my car, and have had some overwhelming disappointments.

Looking back:

I recall the day my mum died. I prayed like my life depended on it that she would live. We lived at the hospital, and I knew God healed. I had seen it with my own eyes. I went to work the day she died. I worked a full day. They told me to come home instead of go to the hospital. I knew something went wrong. I arrived home and felt like the bottom of my chest ripped open. One of my best friends was gone. Where was God in the midst of my pain? He was was holding a fragile 20 something together. I had just graduated college and life was changing forever. God flooded my heart with worship. During those moments and even after her death, I did not have anyone to hold me. Everyone had their own grief; I had God.

People have called me independent, but I’ve learned to lean on God. I know what it’s like to try to lean on people who cannot help you and some don’t want to. They don’t like their own pain, let alone yours. I knew and know there is no better source than Jesus. In moments of suffering with God, I can confidently say, “God is able!”

What God showed me through grief:

He’s bigger than any disappointment or pain and God’s ways are higher.
My mum told God she wanted to go home. She had her own personal relationship with God. Her life belonged to Him. She was tired of being sick. Her life had already touched so many for Jesus. We all have an appointed time to die. This life is but a whisper. I was hurting, sad, and thought of all the ways God could have done things differently. Looking back, the more I surrendered my pain to God, the more comfort He provided.

God doesn’t watch our pain, He enters into our pain. He doesn’t watch His children suffer and provide comfort from a distance. He stands right in the middle of the fire with us. We hurt, God hurts.

God is good and can handle our doubts of His goodness. It’s impossible, at least in my thoughts, to go through a tragedy, betrayal, or trauma and not have the thought pop up, “If God is so good, why did He allow this to happen?” I think of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Lazarus died and Jesus stayed where He was. Jesus waited until Lazarus was good and dead before showing up to resurrect him. It was for the glory of God. In our situations God can use anything for His glory. I am not saying God causes the pain and suffering. I am saying He can use it.

Suffering builds compassion. I truly believe compassion is a much needed trait. And not the pat the person on the head ministry. I mean the ability to enter into someone else’s pain like it is your own. Jesus entered into people’s pain. He had compassion on the sick & healed them.

Cry it out, scream it out, let it out. God is not afraid or offended by our emotions. Some pain or grief is quickly healed. Some grief or pain lingers for years. And some grief and pain seems to go on with us for a lifetime. We will never forget the people we’ve lost. We may never forget how we felt the day the bad news came or the trauma occurred. I can say, though we may not forget, God heals memories. He brings comfort to them. He is the Healer.

God’s plan is good even when it doesn’t feel good. God has our best interests at heart. It does not always seem that way. Some things we will not understand until heaven when we see Him face to face.

There is always hope in Jesus. It’s easy to get jaded by life and say, “If God didn’t do this, then He won’t do that.” Disappointment is a horrible thing to be our foundation for what God can or will do. He can do anything. Just because He does not answer the way you or I would like, does not mean He is limited in any way. God is God. He is all powerful.

As someone who’s walking through this sinful world with you, I say these words of encouragement; there’s no better friend, Healer, or Savior than Jesus. God loves you! No matter how bad it hurts, He will never leave or forsake you!! This I can promise. May you invite Him into the pain. He will give you beauty for ashes and joy for your mourning. I’m practicing what I teach as I continue to invite God into my own pain, hurts, and disappointments. God bless you. You’re in my prayers.