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How to rise above
life’s tragedies

When problems hit us where it hurts the most, how must we cope?

By MARLEX C. CANTOR

HAVE YOU NOTICED how unusual the tragedies and disasters of late have been coming one after another? On top of the debilitating pandemic and the worldwide crises it has spawned, high-magnitude earthquakes continue to occur in greater frequency. The increasing incidence of wildfires that destroy hard-earned properties, fierce storms that cause severe flooding, and hunger and poverty that drive people to despair is a harsh reality that more and more are experiencing first-hand.

No place in this world can there be no problem. And no one is exempt from life’s problems that seem to become more devastating and insurmountable as time progresses. We all find ourselves in uncertain situations that test the limits of our inner strength and confidence.

When problems hit us where it hurts the most, how must we cope? What should we always remember in the face of the obstacles we never thought we would go through?

Our hope is greater than our troubles
God is our hope. Life’s tragedies can be unimaginably difficult, but the help that comes from God is far greater than any unusual disaster. This is what the Bible says to the members of the Church Of Christ:

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Eph. 3:20 The Message).

What God can do is far beyond the sphere of our limited knowledge, capacity, and imagination. His power is infinite and wondrous. No problem cannot be solved through God’s help.

Not only do we have God to rely on; we also have His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to give us “the strength to meet and overcome every difficulty and circumstance” (Phil. 4:13 Last Days Bible).

Rather than panic or cringe in fear, let us take courage in believing that God can and will help us even in ways no one could guess or expect.

God’s help: felt and experienced
Experience has proven how wondrous God’s promised help can be. Thankfully recounting how God rescued the Israelites from their fierce enemies, the Psalmist said, “If the Lord had not been on our side when our enemies attacked us, then they would have swallowed us alive in their furious anger against us” (Ps. 124:2-3 Good News Bible).

Enemies are not just people who pose threats to our faith; even situations or circumstances that may ruin our membership in the true Church Of Christ can be menacing and overwhelming. But as what His early servants experienced, “the Lord God … has not let our enemies destroy us. We have escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap,” for, indeed, “our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”(Ps. 124: 6-8 GNB).

That was also the experience of the faithful Christians in the first century led by the apostles. Through all the persecutions, distresses, and difficulties they suffered, they found God’s grace sufficient, His lovingkindness more than enough, and His mercy always available regardless of the situation. And with the power of Christ that dwelt in them, they overcame their weaknesses and emerged strong—truly able, truly powerful, and truly drawing from God’s strength (II Cor. 12:9-10 Amplified Bible 2015).

Learning from our overwhelming burdens
When Apostle Paul confidently asserted on behalf of his fellow Christians then that they were glad and well-pleased with sufferings, it was not as if the trials they faced were light and easy. In fact, during the apostle’s missionary journey to Asia, what he and the brethren went through completely overwhelmed them. “The burden was more than we could bear,” said Apostle Paul, stressing that they even told themselves, “this was the end.” Nevertheless, because God saved them from imminent death, the apostle realized that such overwhelming experience taught them a valuable lesson: to trust not in themselves but in God (II Cor. 1:8-10 Phillips’ Modern New Testament).

Many members of the Church Of Christ today also have similar experiences. They went through ordeals that they never thought they could overcome, but they were able to—because of God’s help. So, they never regret those moments for it taught them to further trust in God in the same way the first-century Christians believed, “It was God who preserved us from imminent death, and it is he who still preserves us. Further, we trust him to keep us safe in the future” (II Cor. 1:10 Phillips).

What it means to trust in God
Trust in God cannot be faked. God knows who truly trust in Him. They are the ones who (1) fear, (2) revere and (3) worship Him (Ps. 31:19 Amplified Bible).

To fear God is to hate evil (Prov. 8:13). The God-fearing Christians, therefore, renew their lives completely. They don’t lead sinful lives.

To revere God is to be obedient to His will, for those who are reverent before Him live in responsive obedience (Phil. 2:12 MSG). They don’t pick and choose which commands to obey. They follow all of God’s teachings uncompromisingly.

To worship God, His servants gather themselves together to sing hymns, offer prayers, give offerings, and hear His words inside the temple or house of worship (I Cor. 14:26, 15; Heb. 13:15-16; Ps. 5:7; Isa. 2:3). Those who trust God do not forsake such meetings for worship (Heb. 10:25).

Therefore, those who trust in God renew their lives completely, keep on obeying His commands responsively, and fulfill their duty to worship Him constantly. In so doing, they have the assurance that God’s help will always be available for them, especially when they need it most.

God is waiting for us to ask for His help
When terrifying things happen, it would be a terrible thing for us not to approach God and ask for help. The Lord God expects His people to call to Him:

“I’ve made myself available to those who haven’t bothered to ask. I’m here, ready to be found by those who haven’t bothered to look. I kept saying “I’m here, I’m right here’ to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way.(Isa. 65:1-2 MSG)

Let us not ignore God or turn our backs on Him. Doing so will not help us get through our troubles but will only make things worse. No matter how severe our hardships are, we must keep on worshiping God, obeying His commands, and renewing our lives. For when we prove that we fully trust and take refuge in Him, we will be able to rise above any unusual tragedy in life through His help:

“My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Eph. 3:14, 20 MSG)

This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, March 2018 issue, and has been updated.

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The official website of Pasugo: God’s Message magazine of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ), contains religious articles, Church news, and photos

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