On the Other Side of Tragedy
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
It hadn't been a happy week. A flood, a creeping, quiet monster, had stolen homes and furnishings and businesses of many, the lives of some. A distraught man wrote from New Jersey telling me his wife had deserted him. We lost one of our best men to a heart attack.
For twenty-five years I've watched people handle life's hurts. Being a pastor demands that you go where hurt hits.
When you've stood beside hurt in hospitals and funeral homes; when you've watched businesses fall, homes burn to the ground or fill up with water; when you've been with people who've lost those they love most in this world to death, or even worse sometimes, to mortal failure, you begin to see it. It's a quality that always shows itself among God's people. It's that indispensable something that won't quit.
Standing with people waist deep in dirty water, in their own homes you see it. One person said: ''You despair, you cry, when no one is looking if you can, but one of the things you're crying about is your loss of privacy. Even through the hurt you begin to notice it in yourself, 'Hey, I'm stronger than I thought.' I always had a sneaking suspicion I was sold out to life's furniture, the stuff. It hurts, we'll miss it, but we'll get it back. I know I'm stronger than I thought.
That's a good thing to know about yourself.''
It's one of those Dale Carnegie type thoughts, which, at first, sounds sort of silly. Yet it is one of life's titanic truths. It is a truth which many of you have demonstrated in these past days: ATTITUDES ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN FACTS. WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU IS NOT NEAR SO IMPORTANT AS HOW YOU TAKE IT.
The Apostle Paul is exhibit ''A.'' Whenever a door slammed in his face he looked for a window. He had a God-given desire to preach the gospel to the world. Confidently he set out to do so. Imagine his bewilderment on the occasion of his first imprisonment. He had the world in his heart, yet he ...
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