Responding to Tragedy

I just got off the phone with a friend of mine that found out that he probably has terminal cancer. More shocking than that news was the way he responded when I asked him how he was doing. He said he was delighted and excited that he might soon be with God. To put it in his own words “I’m on cloud nine.”

What do you think about his response? Is this a guy who has faith that will be commended by God, or is it something else? Is this a response we should all aspire to in similar situations, or is it foolish and insensitive? I’ve always wondered about this myself, and I’m curious to hear some opinions.

And here’s an important piece of information I haven’t shared yet: he’s got a wife and kids.

4 thoughts on “Responding to Tragedy

  1. I often have thought about dying as well. I came across Phil. 1:21 shortly after I became a Christian and have always thought to leave this nasty, evil, merciless world and be in heaven would be fine with me. But lately, I have felt convicted about two things. One is that I was excited to get out of this awful world, not to enjoy Christ and his majesty, but to see the creation of heaven. Totally wrong motive. Two, I have a wife and a Child that desperately need me and while leaving this world would take away all my responsibilities to my family, it is a cop out and a pathetic one at that. I don’t know your friend or his heart, but I know that Phil. 1:21 has been going through my head ever since I read it and I always find myself reminded of those two convictions.

  2. Yea hey man,
    I just wanted to say that my previous comment, in no way at all, is meant to be applied to your friend who is dealing with a shocking tragedy. Most of the time I find that I am really good at preaching to the choir, pointing fingers, or coaching from the sidelines without taking into account the way others might be feeling. The only thing I was talking about in my comment was my personal convictions and my personal journey through thinking about such matters. I feel bad for your friend and have no idea what I would really do if I was told that same news. My perspective is only one sided, I am sure your friend is in need of a listening ear.

  3. Ben, actually I thought you were quite considerate and gracious. If my friend were to read your comment, I’m sure he would agree.

    Here’s my struggle: To what extent should we let this world call the shots when it comes to our hope, joy, and faith? Certainly we should be considerate of others around us and how they are perceiving the situation, but do we owe it to them to hold out the truth of Scripture and the hope of life eternal, or do we have to keep that at bay? Where is the line?

    I especially struggled with this when my Grandfather passed away quite a few years ago. His Alzheimer’s made our relationship very challenging, and his death was an escape from the mental fog he had been sifting through. Since he was a believer, I felt a sense of joy and relief, and I was comforted in the thought of his presence with God. But I didn’t feel the liberty to express those feelings, especially while others were dealing with the pain of his death.

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