My Beloved Friend’s Example: How to Handle Tragedy
My dear brother, who has been through more heartache and life-altering tragedy than any one single person I have ever personally known, has yet again lost one of his beloved ones. In the ten years I have known him, the Lord has brought him through repeated measures of the harshness of slander and sickness and death. Now, the Lord has taken from him a very powerful source of happiness – his sixteen-year-old daughter Shannon. Yet, in turn, he is pouring out sweetness and life and confidence in the goodness of God. It is such a blessing to me to have a friend who continually declares that “the Lord is upright’ (Ps. 92:15). R.C. Sproul Jr. says in this episode (Watch HERE) of “Joni and Friends,” speaking of the gift of his beloved, special needs daughter, “I have a father who is known the world around for trying to persuade people of the sovereignty of God. And all his convictions in that vein were poured into me all my life. And now God says ‘here’s this challenge. Do you really believe that this is from my hand?’”
R.C. is a man who not only understands the doctrine of the sovereignty of God, but he has also loved it and walked it out. Through cancer himself, and his dear wife’s cancer, through losing his beloved bride just months ago, and now his daughter and many other personal hardships along the way, I have seen my brother prove his faith much like Job did.
In the midst of loss and tragedy, many people doubt and shake their fists. Most people lose sight of the love of their God. But brothers and sisters, today I hope you will both pray for and rejoice over the sustaining grace in the life of a man and his family. Pray for his precious children. Pray that the comfort that only comes from clinging to the mercy of God would fill each of their souls. Observe the example of a modern-day Job, who has modeled for us how a Christian man responds unwavering to wave after wave of tragedy. R.C. is a man who weeps. R.C. is a man who falters. But at the end of the day, his weeping and faltering is swallowed up in trusting the all-merciful sovereign hand of a loving God, who works all things after the counsel of His own will Brothers and sisters, take note of this helpful example of a man who trusts his God in the face of withering tragedies, waves of sorrow and the rod of hardship from all sides.