On the southern tip of Africa there lies a beautiful bowl-shaped lagoon with the city of Knysna nestled around it. It is one of the top dream holiday destinations for the country of South Africa. On June 7, 2017, a fire began to sweep throughout the beautiful dry winter landscape around Knysna. A family died. Thousands of people were evacuated and displaced. Homes and schools were burned to the ground. People lost all their earthly belongings and even livelihoods. Life will never be quite the same for those that went through this tragedy. Knysna, South Africa, has gone through a horrendous ordeal.
How can a person begin to think thanks in these kind of circumstances?
At first you feel so numb. You have to stop the bleeding. People need food and water. Everything seems to take forever. Things that seemed so important before, somehow have lost their urgency. What really matters?
Coming face to face with tragedies is often the source of people turning their backs on the Lord. How could a loving God allow it?
Our friends, Dave and Julie Rudolph, are missionaries in Knysna and are forging their way through this devastating time and looking for ways to share the love of Christ in the midst of trial. Here is an update.
You may have your own fire, a hard thing that you have gone through that is difficult to process. It seems impossible to find any sense in it all. I know I have experienced hard things like that. I wrote down these 10 things following a talk on why God allows sufferings. They have been immensely helpful for me personally. Why does God allow evil and suffering?
- God is justly allowing sin’s curse on the earth to take its natural course; the earth is broken and longing for redemption. Romans 8:22
- God is jolting me to get me really searching for Him in prayer and in the Bible. Jeremiah 29:13-14.
- God is refining me, freeing me from some vice and building virtue in me (the greater good). I Pet. 4:3-4; Job 23
- God is equipping me to be a compassionate comfort and strength to others. 2 Cor. 1:4.
- God is equipping me for greater service; changing the scope of my influence.
- God is freeing me from trust/dependence on things, teaching me that He is the only thing I hold on to.
- God is opening a door for me to share my faith and show God’s love.
- God wants me to long for a better place. 2 Cor. 4:16-18.
- God is privileging us to share in His suffering – reward comes with this.
- God is demonstrating that He can sustain and keep His children faithful.
Searching for the things for which we can be th(i)nkful sometimes feels almost irreverent of the incredible pain that we are experiencing. Formulating thanks through our tears is an act of worship to the Sovereign One that He does not take lightly. He knows. He sees. He rewards our effort to download His grace in order to gain His perspective in every circumstance.
purposefully thinking thanks in the midst of tragedy is like beginning to climb a rope out of the hole of despair that you find yourself in.