For hundreds of thousands of people, life changed course on December 26, 2004, the day the tsunami hit eleven nations in Asia and took the lives of over 210,000 people. The year 2005 and for years beyond, those who survived the devastating tsunami will try to put life back together. Aid sent from all over the world to relieve suffering, prevent disease and encourage hope, will complement this process.
In 2011, as in years both before and after, a large earthquake struck Japan, followed my a devastating tsunami. Other countries have suffered similar as well as other disasters.
Through the personal effort of many people, tragedy can turn into triumph. In the book, Strength for His People, Steven Waterhouse, explains that tragedy and suffering can produce several positive things if we will allow them to do so. Suffering and tragedy produce unity, as we see in the worldwide response to the Asian tsunami. For several days following the tsunami the world was largely one, as an outpouring of sympathy in the form of financial and other aid was promised. This aid was sent not only by governments but also and especially by ordinary citizens.
United States president, George Bush, made a personal donation of $10,000.00 to aid tsunami victims. The Washington Post [January 8] reported that a 9-year-old California boy gave up his birthday party and asked his mother to send $250.00 to Asian children instead. The small church I attend in Nashville, Tennessee, composed mostly of people from China, contributed $1,000.00 to relief in Indonesia. Yes, suffering promotes unity and unity turns tragedy into triumph.
Waterhouse also explains that suffering destroys the illusion of self-sufficiency and drives us to depend on God. The Bible tells us that God is our refuge and strength, an ever‑present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea [Psalm 46:1‑2]. In the earthquake that precipitated the tsunami, in a sense, a mountain did fall into the heart of the sea, yet, God promises us that even there God is our refuge and strength.
The very day of the tsunami, how many people thought that they had life by the horns and were fully self-sufficient? They failed to acknowledge their need for God. By nightfall, however, they were praying to God, looking for God, depending on God. Some thanked God that they had been spared, while others questioned God as to why their loved ones had been taken. Tragedy will send us to God’s breast, if we will let it. Indeed, God wants to be our ever‑present help in trouble. The turn to God brings triumph out of tragedy.
As we face the suffering that is common to all people, we should remember that we do not suffer alone. God is with us and God’s people are also close to us. Unity with God and unity with each other helps us be triumphant. Reaching out and receiving aid from our fellow men does not prove our impotency; rather it serves as an opportunity for many people to bond in a common cause and express their humanity to each other. Allowing God to be our refuge and strength does not demonstrate that we are weak but rather serves to empower us with the strength of God, and thus to turn tragedy into triumph.
Be triumphant today by reaching out your hand in unity with your fellow man. Be involved in the giving of aid and perhaps even in the reception of it. Wherever you live and whatever problem you face, find in God the refuge and strength which is uniquely his and which he is anxious to extend.
Natural Disasters (3): Philosophy of Life for Survivors:
Turn Tragedy into Victory
作者：谢德华 ©By Edward Short
World Christian Broadcasting