The Kalamazoo Bike Tragedy

A mass tragedy has struck once again this year in the community which we love and live: On Tuesday night, June 7th, five bicyclists were killed and at least four more were seriously injured after being hit by a pickup truck north of Kalamazoo.  I didn’t know any of the victims personally, but have friends who were very close to some of those who died that night. Our hearts break for them. Let’s pray as they grieve, try to heal, and face the reality of life without their loved ones. Most of the funerals here will happen this week, and donations for those directly affected are being accepted by The Kalamazoo Strong Foundation.

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In times like these, our minds are filled with all kinds of questions and emotions. We may ask, “Why did God allow this to happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is there so much pain in the world? How can any good possibly come out of this?”

We then try to make sense out of something that just doesn’t make sense, but I have shared my own thoughts on deep questions like this before in these two previous blog posts (click on each to read):

In Times of Great Trial: Aftermath in Kalamazoo

and

Never Forget

The truth is there are no quick or easy answers that can erase the unimaginable pain that friends and families feel in tragedies like this one, but I do know that the promises listed below from God’s word give us hope and strength when tragedies like these strike. I also know for those of us who have lost loved ones, that our hearts long for heaven in a deep way, as C.S Lewis once noted: “The fact that our heart yearns for something Earth can’t supply is proof that Heaven must be our home.”

First, we never get over the loss of a loved one. We’re just not supposed to. There’s a deep loss and wound that we will carry until we’re reunited in eternity. But in the meantime, God will carry us through this and give the strength to persevere through the pain. The Good News of the Gospel is that isn’t the end of our story (or theirs either). Because of Jesus, “Goodbye,” is really just, “See you soon.”

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Also one of the most comforting verses of the Bible is the very shortest verse. It simply says, “Jesus wept.” Those two words remind me that our Savior isn’t a cold-hearted, angry  judge disconnected from our pain. He’s a loving Father and Friend who is walking with us and even carrying us through life’s most difficult times. Jesus also said, “Never will I leave you or forsake you.” Also Psalm 46:1 – God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.

One of the most beautiful promises in the Bible to remember and know is that the Lord “causes all things to work together for the good of those who love Him…”  Romans 8:27-29 (NLT).

On this side of eternity, we won’t always see how he takes the broken pieces and creates something beautiful with them, but we can have peace in knowing that he will redeem the tragedy somehow in His perfect timing.

Romans 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Jeremiah 31:13  I will turn their mourning into gladness. I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.

2 Corinthians1:3-4  What a wonderful God we have. He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

John 14:1-3  Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.

So while we will all experience physical death, Jesus has promised that those who believe in Him will never cease to exist.

For we that do have inherited what Jesus calls eternal life John 3:16-17.

Perhaps some of the good the Lord will bring out one of your life’s own tragedies, (like He has in mine,) is to use the allowed pain to bring you closer to Him or bring you into a relationship with Him for the very first time. What are you waiting for?

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