Seven Biblical Responses to Overwhelming Events
This post is simply a resource for those who are hurting or know someone who is hurting. To hear the message from our Sunday morning service yesterday, CLICK HERE.
Yesterday we studied “Trusting God in Tragedy”—seven biblical responses to overwhelming events. Perhaps they will encourage you in your time of trial, or perhaps you could share these principles and the message above with someone who is hurting!
Here are the responses we studied in the life of Mary as she received tragic but wonderful news that shattered her world and shredded her life plan.
1. Express Your Emotion—Mary was “troubled”
Luke 1:29 “29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.”
Mary was being given disastrous news, and she wasn’t afraid to express concern and trouble in the presence of God.
2. Confront Your Doubt—Mary said, “how shall this be?”
Luke 1:34, 35 “34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Mary immediately doubted. And she immediately expressed that doubt to the Lord! And God responded favorably to her honest and sincere expression of doubt. Seasons of tragedy or trial always bring with them a measure of doubt! Where there is no doubt, there is no faith. If it all made sense, if you could logic or rationalize every circumstance—there could be no faith.
Faith is not the absense of doubt… it’s trusting God inspite of doubt!
3. Trust God’s Sovereignty—Mary said, “behold the handmaid of the Lord”
Luke 1:38 “38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.”
Mary completely surrendered to God’s control! When trials come we want to do a role reversal in life—we want to grasp for control and fix things. We want to assume God’s role, or question why God isn’t handling the situation the way we would think He should (if He were truly good.) God is perfectly good. He is perfectly love. He is perfectly just. He is perfectly in control. And He will make all wrongs right!
4. Accept God’s Grace—Mary immediately went to her “cousin Elizabeth”
Luke 1:36-40 “36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.”
Mary immediately went to those who KNEW, those who UNDERSTOOD, those who would strengthen her FAITH and support her CALLING! The most tangible, real, and important expression of God’s grace on planet earth is YOU! Be God’s grace to others this week. And accept God’s grace from others as well.
5. Speak God’s Goodness—Mary said “my soul doth magnify the Lord”
Luke 1:46-48 “46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”
Mary immediately began to speak praise, worship, and truth to God and of God! She has gone from stress to surrender to stability! She subjected her emotions to the worship of God, and her whole perspective changed. Strength is found—God’s power and stability is discovered when you lift your voice and praise HIM in the midst of trials!
6. Reject Your Bitterness—Mary said “My spirit hath rejoiced…”
Luke 1:47 “47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Every trial presents a spiritual fork in the road—the path of bitterness or the path of grace. Bitterness is like a disease that eats you and everyone around you. Grace is like a salve that heals you and everyone you touch. Mary chose not to be bitter, but to rejoice in her Saviour.
7. Refocus on Your Saviour—Mary said “for He hath…”
Luke 1:46-55 “46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”
Where do we LOOK at times like this? Media has no answer. Money has no answer. Men have no answer. Tragic events render us helpless, speechless, and if we’re not careful—hopeless! And CNN, NBC, and FOXNews will only leave us asking more questions. Mary knew where to look! She looked to her SAVIOUR! She looked to HER GOD!
Surely Mary knew this was good knews sandwiched in BAD NEWS. She knew her Saviour was on His way (good news) but she also knew her dreams were gone and her firstborn was to be a living sacrifice. She had read Isaiah 53. She knew the brutal and bloody death her child would suffer. She knew she was giving birth to a living sacrifice. And yet she chose to worship, rejoice, and trust her God.
Tragedy brings life into focus. It’s clarifies what’s important—what’s valuable. And the most valuable thing any person can have is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Wherever you are in life—look to JESUS. He is the only hope and the only answer!
Micah 7:7 “7 Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.”