Coping With Fear and Sorrow

by Lisa Tyler


April 19, 2007

I feel that many people are searching for answers this week to life’s bigger questions that involve the little word WHY.  

Of course we’re saddened by the deaths at Virginia Tech.  It has brought the issue of safety and life’s purpose again to our minds.  My heart goes out to all who are grieving and to those who are frightened.   May God bless you all with comfort, safety and meaningful living. 

I remember as a student, some of the big questions for me were “Why can’t I be as pretty as so and so, and why can’t my family be rich?”  Why is life unfair?  Why do people have to die?  Why am I fat?  Why am I depressed?  Why do we have to obey rules, laws and even God Himself? 

Some of you may recognize your own question there, and some of you adults may STILL be asking the very same questions along with “Why do I work so hard and make so little headway?” 

I think that we’re not going to know the answers to questions such as “Why did this young man murder?”  There is a lot of looking around to find someone or something to blame going on, but this is really counter productive. 

Some people are saying it’s the fault of video games.  The South Koreans are feeling that their whole country has been shamed by his actions, and that they are somehow responsible for his behavior.  Others are saying that all children who are quiet should be removed from the community and treated as potential time bombs.  This sounds like the beginning of a witch-hunt to me. 

The fact is that there are around 6 billion living souls on this planet and of that number it is inevitable that there will be every possible combination of character, health problem, mental issue and flaw.  These things have always existed; even in the Bible times there were deeply troubled people, and even those they called possessed.  

What makes it different for us today, is that now more than any other time in history, people are gathering together in large numbers, with easy access to communications so that we are now not only more likely to come into contact with the deeply disturbed people, we are also more likely to hear about more tragedies each day than the normal person can bear to hear. 

We simply were not created to hear the burdens of the entire world and the evil it contains.  Only God can bear such a thing.  

At this time in history, we also have much more freedom of choice and the actual physical, financial and intelligence capability to wreak havoc on the world around us if we begin to get out of control. 

I don’t believe mankind has bettered their situations in every area of life.  There is much to be said for the old ways.  Some of those old ways were having strong family units, grandparents being a major influence in the lives of the next generations coming up, and long periods of time alone to think - as people worked mostly with their hands. 

You have a lot of time to think when you’re in a garden pulling weeds, or sewing clothing, or walking to work and school.  

Although we work, we are preoccupied with tasks like driving and cell phone conversations while we travel.  We sit at our computers or work stations and are either bombarded with ads, text, music playing or some type of activity in front of our eyes at all times. 

What if I asked you “how much time do you spend alone each day to pray, meditate or simply plan your future?”  Would you be able to find any time in a busy day that you have set aside simply to BE yourself?  To acknowledge God? 

If Jesus needed that time alone and made time to get away from noise and the busywork of living, EVERY day, then why do we think we are immune to the needs of our spirit? 

You can’t prevent bad things from happening here and there in the world, but you can do three things that will help you become more immune to the insanity out there.   

One is to step back from the news, focus on good healthy and happy information, and reduce your exposure to stimulation of all kinds.  Simplify your life and filter what you allow your eyes to see, and your ears to hear.  Quiet time is absolutely crucial to figure out who you are and where you fit in on this planet. 

Second, establish a connection with God.   You need a personal, real relationship with Jesus and who you feel is your Creator or source.  Prayers that pay lip service to knowing God will not give you comfort or peace in times of trouble.  Real knowledge of who God is and what He said in the Bible will give you that peace. 

As you read the history of other human beings on the planet, and you see that they’ve all gone through very similar things to what you experience today, you can “feel” your place in the middle of them, where you belong and what your purpose might be. 

You’re certainly not alone, and God has given us definite instructions for almost every circumstance in Scripture.  

The more time you set aside for yourself, the more you will humbly respect yourself.  The more time you set aside for God, the more you will respect Him and feel free to call upon Him in times of trouble. 

Finally, forgive.  Forgive this man who killed others.  He was broken, lost, confused and felt things that we (most likely) do not.  If we were in his shoes, we may have done the same thing, but regardless of whether we would have done it or not, we’re all a part of humanity, sharing an experience of consciousness.  He was our brother, and he was in pain.  

It helps us cope if we get in the habit of forgiveness.  It helps put things in perspective and brings the “monsters in the dark” down to size. 

Pray for each other, pray for the victims and their families, but mostly, pray for mercy and compassion, so that you can be a light in the world for those lost to find.  YOU are the missing link to understanding love and peace.  You are the one who is needed to fill in the gap for others when they cannot stand on their own. 

And when you examine the lives of those who die young, and you wonder why they weren’t given the chance to finish what they set out to do, leave it in the hands of God.  

Consider that they may have done everything they were sent to do, and by their deaths they might help bring us closer, and others to find their way to God. 

It is likely that the answers to the question WHY are not even meant to be discovered in this lifetime.  The reason may be that none of those answers really matter.  

Maybe the whole point is that difficulty, obstacles, pain and sorrow, are all here to give us something to push against to become better people.  To lift ourselves higher and to reach the higher purpose we were put here for.  To reach God.  

If we have no problems, we’re usually just floating along content to go wherever the current leads us.  Very often a crisis will be the spark that sets a person’s life on fire, like a star or fireworks that can be seen for miles around, but only in the dark. 

Today, everything is as it should be.  All that is asked of you today, is simply to BE you.  You are a human BEING not a human DOING.  It is impossible for you to make anyone else do ANYTHING.  Hope instead to learn from this day more of who you are, and what you love.  Do those things, with humility and compassion and you cannot go wrong, no matter what happens around you. 

Have a wonderful week! 

Copyright © 2007 Lisa Tyler



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