Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hope in the face of tragedy

Just came back from a prayer meeting at church feeling sick and heavy. We were praying for some missionaries. But some of us also shared their burdens.

An’s mother has seven brothers and sisters. Last year there was a nasty fight and now they are not speaking to each other. A is trying to hard to repair the relationships, to no avail. Every time she came back from visiting her family, she was so exhausted she felt lethargic for 2 weeks.

Ra has been an astronaut (Hong Kong style) for 20 years - he worked in Hong Kong while his family lived in Toronto. Recently he retired and joined his family in Toronto, hoping to rebuild his family life. Almost right away, he was diagnosed with late-stage cancer. His spinal cord was so weakened that it broke - now he is bed ridden. He is not expected to live another month.

Ri’s classmate at seminary recently fell ill and died, all within one day.

Why do these things happened? What can we say to comfort the victims and their families? I really cannot think of anything. Except to weep with them who weep. Live is full of tragedies, large and small.

Often we don’t know why bad things happen, particularly to good people. But we always have hope. If not in this world, then in the next. In fact, our hopes in this world do not amount to much. Even if the patients were healed, the family reconciled, and the dead raised, they will soon all be dead (again). It is only the hope in the afterlife that is long-lasting. Faith is the basis of that hope. Is faith blind? Not all of them. Herein lies our salvation.

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