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Don’t Tell Me!

“Can anything good come from this?” That reflective question is on the news often today.  Tragedy followed by terrorism followed by unthinkable violence makes secular as well as spiritually minded folks wonder about anything good rising from the horrors of modern disregard for life.  Seemingly, tragedies are unstoppable.  Sorrows are unavoidable.  Pain is inevitable.

We are not the first to question our world situation.  It was the Roman Empire’s setting that the Apostle Paul lived and served.  And, it was in the persecution and open hostility toward Christians that he would pen these words, “All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

Many folks through the ages have given their views on the pain of life’s tragedies…..In the racial strife and division of the 1960’s, Dr. King said, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).  It was the Greek Philosopher that quipped, “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” (Plato).  “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” (Erma Bombeck).

Henri Dunant was a wealthy 19th century Swiss banker when the Swiss government sent him to Paris to work on a business deal with Napoleon. When he got to Paris, they told him that Napoleon was off fighting a war against the Austrians in Solferino, Italy. So Dunant got back into his carriage and set his horses galloping down to the battlefront. He got there just in time to hear the bugles blast and see the thundering charge of Napoleon’s troops. Dunant had never before witnessed the ghastly carnage of war. He watched in horror as cannonballs tore through human flesh, and acres of land became heaped with disfigured and dying men. Henry Dunant was so devastated that he remained at the front for weeks helping doctors tend to the wounded in churches and nearby farmhouses. 

After his return to Switzerland, Dunant continued to be haunted by the images of war he had seen in Italy. He could not keep his mind on banking and became so distracted that he lost all his wealth. Even so, he had a sense that God was at work behind the scenes. Later, he wrote of this time in his life and said, “I was aware of an intuition, vague and yet profound, that [this was] God’s Will; it seemed to me that I had [something] to accomplish… as a sacred duty and that it was destined to have fruits of infinite consequence for mankind.” 

And that’s exactly what happened. Out of his depression and failure — after following the wrong road to Italy — Henri Dunant founded the Red Cross, which has since saved millions and millions of lives and given relief to countless victims of war and disaster over the years. Later, Henry Dunant received the first Nobel Peace Prize for establishing this organization. (copied).

We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  (Romans 5:3-5 THE MESSAGE).