Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Crossroads of Closeness with God

It's the day after our community, and the high school in our neighborhood, mourn the loss of two senior high students from a fatal car crash. Another student still in the hospital and the driver, 17 years old, in jail possibly facing charges of manslaughter.

Students praying at Palmer
Ridge High School.
This morning I awoke to news reports, tweets and Facebook posts about the crash and the resulting coming together of our community....many being teens in our church who had played on teams with the boys or knew them personally. A cross has been erected with flowers being added by the hour at the crash site. At Palmer Ridge High School, the normal 10-12 students praying at the flagpole was increased by a multiple of 10. We opened our church yesterday so students could come and make some sense of their loss and possibly of God. One of our pastors is today meeting with the soccer team, which one of the boys played on with his son.

Tragedy brings us to a crossroads.  It's a place where anger, sorrow, questions and hope meet to seek an answer and new path. It is an opportunity to reengage a closeness with God that was waining, or possibly non-existent.

I wonder if God doesn't use these tragedies purposely to remind us of many things...
   our humanity
   the thin balance between life and death
   community and our need of each other
   his existence

As we seek answers in the midst of tragedies, God is at the crossroads, waiting patiently for our inquiries. His answers are not always what we want to hear, but if we will settle our souls within the story and hope of His eternity, we can find the strength to pick ourselves up and move on. We will find purpose again and learn from our trials.

James writes to, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whoever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish it works so that you can be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-3) Whether we like it or not, tragedy breeds maturity.  The fruit of maturity is an increasing hope, not in the safety of life, but in an eternity with our Creator.

And so, this tragedy yesterday in our community reminds me to do one thing...stay close to my God and find hope in Him. As we pray and mourn with these families and our community, may God's closeness become apparent to them as they stand at the crossroads looking for answers, along with all of us.

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