a place to come and discuss in peace, things of religion, life, and families

Question about a tragedy faced by a chaplain friend

Posted by tawodi on July 25, 2008

A short while ago I answered a question posed by a chaplain friend of mine. A man in his comunity had killed his family and himself and this friend had to assist police fire ambulance personell and the families involved. This was part of my answer to him.


What do we tell people when some thing horrible happens and what Gods role is, in allowing evil to exist?



As clergy we have a responsibility to teach the flock, we are, after all, supposed to be shepherds.

Whirledpeas is right when she says the “Sky Daddy” approach is wrong. But it makes a certain amount of sense when we consider that we constantly tell people that God has a plan, God knows all, God is in the details. Well in many ways He is, but those self same details are the ones, we as a species, are given responsibility for!!

The three Abrahamic faiths are instructed to raise their children responsibly. Do we?? Watch television tonight and answer the question then.
Listen to the heavy metal, with all of it’s symbols of death and, answer the question.
Listen to hip hop with all the Ho’s and beatches and the gangbangers and look at the kids with their pants at half mast, “jailin'” that’s what that is called, you know, when they take your belt and shoe laces away from you in the slammer so you don’t snuff yourself, after being arrested……yeah, that’s the signifigance of the pants at half mast. I see this garbage, here in the preppy capitol of the world, on the high school kids and it’s just soooo cool!! NOT!!! I could go on and on, but what is the point, as soon as this gets read there will be those who call me an idiot for interpreting it this way.

Do you, any of you, out there, have any idea how many families I have consoled after their kids have been killed in cars?? Or overdosed on, of all things, horse tranquillizers!! How many after their kids have been arrested for assault, or even murder?? How many after they have been hospitalised for the same reasons?? Or, to accompany a set of parents on the way to the morgue to view remains of their kid, or worse, kids plural.

GEE T!! Where are you going with all this, that is not what we asked!!

Oh…..isn’t it??

Well, lets see, you want to do what ever you please and when there is a consequence, then “Sky Daddy’s supposed to save your sorry butt…..I don’t think so. Read the book, if you don’t listen, you pay the piper, it’s just that nasty, but just that simple.

And then we come to the part where the good people have something terrible happen to them, and every one turns and says….SEE T you’re wrong!! Good people suffer too and it’s not supposed to be that way!!! Once again, read the book where does it say that???

We are told time, after time, that the slings and arrows of this world will befall even the righteous, but that we will be seen through it, we will be given the strength and grace to weather the storm and indeed we are, when we trust in the Lord. Does it still hurt?? You’d better believe it does, we are after all human too, but grace goes a long way to carrying us through. Fellowship of our congregations is also a powerfull tool, family and all of the support networks that exist in a church and nurturing family setting, carry us as well.

Use these things, they are real and, they work!!

I won’t cover prayer here but it IS effective when you know how to use it, see “crippled prayer” in the different thinking thread.

One other thing that is a creeping horror to be avoided.

When children are exposed to tragedy, they are very often told something incredibly stupid, like God needed another star in His sky, or was lonely in heaven and needed your dad. Well!!! Why didn’t he turn on a light and leave my daddy alone!!! Why did He kill my dad if He was lonely!!! He could have visited!!!

Do you see the damage done by these platitudes?? Always tell a child the truth….what is the truth??? People die, sometimes for no good reason and we have to continue on, with the support of God, our friends, family and others, to get through it, to the other side. We WILL be healthy again, but for now, and for some time, it will hurt and then, we will start to feel better, a little at a time. And, I will hold you and you can hold me, ’cause I hurt too.

I know as a Pastor, there have been too many times to count, where I said nothing, as there was nothing to say, and just reached out and held someone for awhile and have been told many, many times that, that was what they needed, not empty words, that at the time, they couldn’t believe anyway.
Now the answer IS in there, but you will have to dig for it. It’s not too deep, it is in the many things I have described and still comes down to the simplicity of being human and the overwhelming complexity of …….being human.

No one man has all the answers, we, even clergy, just sometimes must muddle through, but these are the things I have learned.

C.J.’s response;

Yep, thanks Bruce. If I would not have seen some frustration in your post I would worry about you brother! You speak from conviction and experience. Innocent death always hurts and scars. Sometimes it makes me so angry I have to walk away before speaking and allow myself time to calm down. How can we blame GOD for something man does while removed from Him? The opportunity of “Free Will” is a wonderful thing as well as a horrible thing. I’ve found the best words to say in this situation are nothing. Being there, standing by ones side, simple touch holds more sincerity than speech. Unless you have actually experienced what a person is experiencing you can’t understand, but you can be there for them.

How can GOD let this happen? Because he promised. He promised Free Will.

Immediately after some one asked C.J. what he meant, What follows is my response.

What C.J. means is this, the gift of free will comes with a price,

Simply put, it is a non interference agreement with God. He will not interfere with free will, no matter how bad the decision making process involved in our actions.

When we are rolling along and everything is just peachy keen, we don’t ask for Him to do so do we? Now we might have a beautiful family, a nice little business, a lovely home, some money in the bank………..and a mistress on the side. Suddenly the wife finds out about our pecadillo and sues for divorce….the little business is no longer sufficient to meet the costs, the nice home is going to be taken from us, the kids go to the wife and we fall down on our knees and scream no! no, this is too much, it isn’t fair, what I did does not deserve this, you don’t have the right to take all this from me!!!

Oh really?? You lied for God knows how long to your wife, family and, who knows who else, about your entire existence and now when your actions have a price, you scream for God to relieve you of the burdon of your lies…..nope, not gonna happen………BUT< if you beg forgiveness and make all the restitution in your power to make, rededicate your self to the truth you abandoned, beseach your wife to forgive and to accept you back into the fold of your family, that YOU have thrown away, it just may happen.
OR it may not. She may not allow that pain and risk to re-enter her, or the childrens lives again and, you will have to learn to live with the new reality YOU created.

And now, we come to the crux of it, your new reality DOES include the forgiveness of God, go and sin no more, re-create your life in truth, and new beginnings, and live it out in that truth with a new wife and new kids and all the fulfillment that a forgiven person may expect.

Yes there was a price, and yes it was terrible to behold, and endure, but it was paid and forgiven. You go anew, you got another chance, don’t blow it!!! Too many don’t get that chance, they die in their transgressions, or because of them, and those are the ones that C.J. means when he mentions anger. Yes I get angry when reading of a foolish act, that has taken lifes blessing, the chance for renewal in Christ away from the innocent and, cursed them with an early death by some beknighted fool and now we are left to explain. And, there is no real explanation possible. So we fumble in our anger and helplessness, like any other human being pick up the remaining pieces of the survivors lives and desparately hope, to help them survive all this, heal, and live again.

You are a brother, you have felt all of these things, maybe you have not been able to articulate them, but you have felt and dealt with all of these things and I have blessed your courage and the loving support you have given your family all through it, as a man of God with great inner strength, which is so obvious, to those of us who choose to see it in you my friend. THIS is the difference that you show the world and not the cowardice of the one who destroyed himself and his family for whatever reason he had. Your brother in Christ……..Bruce

It must be stated that there were about ten others who prayed with and for all concerned that day and C.J. closed with this brief note to all of us.

Well it certainly has been a day…

Thank you. All have helped.

All Ministry comes with problems. Today it brought the reality of the human condition to this town. It bears witness to the responsibility we have with “Free Will”. As we deal with the aftermath; the hurt, the pain, for some the shame. We say our prayers, we tell our parents, our children, our husbands and wives how much we love them. We try to rest and get ready for tomorrows challenges. Myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted from the day. I will quietly shed my tears of frustration in the arms of the one who understands me so well as I pray for them, for all of us. I thank Him for allowing me to be strength for others, and for her, and her strength for me. Through Him, we are a strong team. God Bless you all…

Kerr ESD

I thought a long time about these exchanges and finally decided to post them here as there are some profound considerations for adults as well as children to consider and learn from the things said.





2 Responses to “Question about a tragedy faced by a chaplain friend”

  1. No matter what the events we face in our life we can face it with God

    (Psa 91:1 KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
    (Psa 91:2 KJV) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
    (Psa 91:3 KJV) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
    (Psa 91:4 KJV) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
    (Psa 91:5 KJV) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
    (Psa 91:6 KJV) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
    (Psa 91:7 KJV) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
    (Psa 91:8 KJV) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
    (Psa 91:9 KJV) Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
    (Psa 91:10 KJV) There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
    (Psa 91:11 KJV) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
    (Psa 91:12 KJV) They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
    (Psa 91:13 KJV) Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
    (Psa 91:14 KJV) Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
    (Psa 91:15 KJV) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
    (Psa 91:16 KJV) With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

  2. cornishevangelist said

    Do Not Be Surprised
    Do not be surprised when some church leaders do not accept you, for there has always been people who hold high positions in churches who speak evil of men and women of God.

    Many of God’s people over the centuries have come up against people like that. We read in 3 John v 9 & 10, of an elder called Diotrophes, who with foolish and malicious words spoke evil of the Apostles and who would not receive them or their teachings.

    He loved to have pre-eminence among the local church at that time, and if any did not obey him, he would have them thrown out of the church. Have things really changed today?


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