Regarding Tragedy

Mister-RogersTragedy showed up in our community yesterday morning. I like many of you began Monday as any other day until that call. A young mom’s life is lost; our hearts break. A lot of lives were changed in an instant; it’s a complex story.  I don’t have any answers to the whys. I wish I did.  All I can do is perhaps point to the “how” are we going to walk through the next few days and weeks.

Here’s my short list:

Invest in loving those closest to the tragedy. Acts of kindness and grace are always appreciated.

Take time to grieve while giving space to those who grieve and process differently than you.

Be present. Neither family needs our advice, just our presence. In fact, we really don’t know what to say. Sometimes just being present in the quiet room is all that needs to be said.

Don’t assume; act instead.

Don’t judge; extend mercy.

Pray your actions would example your followship of Christ. We are the light of the world. Shine light into the darkness of tragedy.

Draw close rather than push away. If there is ever a time to trust, this is the time. Hold to the promises God’s given you; remember the precepts of His word.

Pray and then pray some more.

Oh, and please please forgive the Mr. Rogers’ quote, but I just want to be someone who helps.

24 thoughts on “Regarding Tragedy

  1. Dawn Chenault

    Thank you for sharing this. Our hearts are so heavy and we have truly lost a gem. Her loving heart and contagious smile will forever be with me. Brad, thanks for encouraging us to just “be” and “do” in this time when everyone is at a loss for words. The little gestures are those that will be remembered. Praying God’s peace that passes all understanding for this sweet family.

  2. Elizabeth

    Thank you I feel so blessed to have known such an amazing women and call her friend. Thank you for helping us be and do.

  3. Kathy Lowry

    Thanks for sharing. I am very thankful for your insights and wisdom. I will pray for you and the rest of our staff as you make it possible for the rest of us to act in accordance to God’s will as we deal with this tragedy together. May The Lord strengthen and add to our faith as we trust in Him. God bless you for your leadership at this difficult time.

  4. Brad Hoffmann Post author

    Thank you for the comments. Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus this week – it’s not always easy.

    1. Pat Leitch

      Thank you Brad for your kind fairness and love in face of this tragedy. I hope your words inspire many because I believe they are the sentiments of Jesus. I will take your comments to heart and pray and offer my support to all those close to this tragedy. I pray for comfort, love and kindness to both families and pray that they can somehow overcome their grieve to achieve common good. I know this will not be easy, but with faith, love and support from a caring community maybe we can achieve something positive, even miraculous? Thank you for your leadership to inspire such an end through prayers, love, outreach and forgiveness.

  5. Nancy Jackson

    Thanks for sharing your “short list” of good, tangible, helpful suggestions to help us know how to help each other.

  6. Carroll Weakley

    At a time like this when words are so hard to come by, I can remember the words of a song that my Mother use to sing called Peace Perfect Peace, in this dark world of sin, the blood of Jesus whispers Peace within. Those words can bring comfort when the trials of life are raging. Thanks Brad.

  7. Ellen P

    As one who has personally experienced a sudden and tragic loss I can attest to the wisdom of your gentle words. “Be present. Neither family needs our advice, just our presence. In fact, we really don’t know what to say. Sometimes just being present in the quiet room is all that needs to be said.” Amen

  8. Robert K

    From one minister to another ,That’s it, I could not have said it better!!! I thank you for alowing God to use you!! Sadly many of our brothers and sisters use these times to do and say things other than what’s called for. It’s refreshing to see someone who’s sensitive to the pain of others and minister to it,for no other reason than that’s what’s need now!!!! May Almighty God continue to bless,keep and use you to His Glory!!!!! Ps Don’t forget your own advice and also allow yourself to greive!!!

  9. Jane Adams

    I was Meg’s first grade teacher at Pearson’s Corner Elementary. As a Christian who felt the call of God on my life and in my classroom, I did my best to point others to Him. I am so glad to know that she knew Him and that we WILL see her again in Glory. I will be praying for you during the service tomorrow; it is a difficult task you and Mr. Corey (also a friend of mine) have but we do have the blessed Hope. May God bless you in His service. Jane Adams

    1. Brad Hoffmann Post author

      What a great testimony as you’ve lived out your calling in the class room. We have this hope! I really appreciate your prayers for tomorrow. It is a difficult task, but we’re trusting Him for words and strength. Thanks again!

  10. Kris Gravett

    I just wanted to say thank you for all your wisdom. I am, more than ever, very honored to be a Christian also proud to be a “connected” Christian at Cool Springs. This helps me know and see God’s power and grace every day even when the “whys’ are not there. I did not know Meg on a “close” level but my husband and I taught Whitfield and now have little Skye in our Sunday class. These children are a living testimony to how she loved and knew the Lord.

    1. Brad Hoffmann Post author

      Kris – thanks for sharing your story. Thank you for giving of yourself to our children. Your influence is helping to shape young lives!

  11. Neil

    I too live in the Mechanicsville area and am grieved by the passing of one of our neighbors. What do we (as Christians) say to those with real questions about tragedies like this? How do we respond to those who use these tragedies as a reason to doubt the love of God? I’m not talking about people who want to doubt but people who have real questions. Was this God’s will? Was God there? Could He have prevented this accident but failed to do so? If not, than is God omnipotent? Is He sovereign over these types of situation? Where do we go to find answers to the tough questions we are being asked about this situation? Are they found in the Bible? I’m not talking about forcing anything on anyone at such a sensitive time. However, people are going to be asking these questions in the days to come and part of loving them could be to provide insight and understanding to these situations. Is a practical part of “showing them love” equipping ourselves to handle these tough questions delicately and truthfully? Please take these questions in the spirit in which they are meant. I have felt ill-equipped to handle these questions in the past and would love insight. I don’t attend your church but do live in the community. Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts and feelings at such a sensitive time.

    1. Brad Hoffmann Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I believe I understand the spirit in which you ask – so again, I appreciate the conversation. Perhaps I might write a piece on suffering and evil. How do you answer the questions asked by people seeking answers? We don’t. We do know suffering exists and Christians are not immune to suffering. It’s interesting to note we’re reading through the Bible chronologically this year. Over the past days, we’ve been in Job. It brings suffering into perspective. We all are going to die. We don’t know the number of days or the manner in which we’ll die. But, it is appointed to man a time to die. As a believer, I know that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a Christian. Where was God in the tragedy? I believe He was right there in the midst. We see but one side of the accident, but there are so many more components we don’t. Regarding His sovereignty, there are many conversation in-between open theism and determinism that shape that answer. Even in this tragedy, He’s still sovereign. Answers to those questions I don’t think will necessarily increase faith. Faith is the essence of what’s unseen. Faith is only faith when we must trust. Again, I’m not convinced we’re to seek the whys, but rather live out the hows of the gospel. Having an answer won’t necessarily convince, but seeing faith lived out well amidst tragedy will – at least that’s what I believe and have seen effective over the years. Thoughts?

  12. Wayne Smith

    Cool Spring will offer a grief support group meeting Sunday night, January 19 at 4:00 PM to help parents address the tough questions their children may ask after experiencing loss or their fear of loosing their own loved ones. Everyone is invited so please share.

    Grief Informational Session – Kids Grieve Too
    In the wake of the tragic death of Meg Menzies this past week, many have asked how to help our hurting children with their grief.

    How do we answer their really tough questions when we are grieving too.

    This Sunday the Grief Support Ministry will host an informational meeting in the Middle School Auditorium Room B 63 at 4 pm. We will watch a video which will include grief experts and parents who have struggled with these really tough questions.

  13. Neil

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions. I’m glad that the folks at Cool Springs have you to shepherd them through this difficult season. It’s easy for me to want to provide the right answer to questions but need to be mindful of the timing and manner in which those are provided as well. I think the answers may be the easier to determine but the “love” in which they are delivered are often the most difficult for us(me) to perfect.

    I’m thankful for Paul’s words to the Romans in Chapter 8 that help keep difficult times in perspective.

    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

    Thanks again.

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