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Straight to the Heart [10-4-2020]

Here's where we began last week:

Suffering and loss are probably two of the biggest challenges to faith. They're two of the primary reasons non-believers give for being non-believers. When you talk with people who are unsure about what they believe, you will likely hear something about suffering and loss. People struggle with reconciling a loving God with evil and the hardships that strike us in this life.

How do you talk to hurting people about the Christian faith in the context of suffering and loss? You first have to know what to believe. Therefore, you have to know what the Bible says.

We ended with a story about how tragedy struck when a young boy died after being hit by a car. After the funeral, a well-meaning friend of the family said this to his mother:

"I know this is tragic and heart-breaking, but don't forget that God knew what He was doing." That comment pierced a grieving mom's heart.

For years, that little boy's grieving mom couldn't shake those words. What kind of God would take her precious little boy from her in that manner? How could she believe in such a God?

I think these kinds of situations intimidate a lot of us. As empathetic people, we internalize the immediacy of the moment. We think about our loved ones, and how a tragic death would hit us. We can't help but put ourselves in their shoes. At the same time, our heart breaks for the person who has lost so much. We think we need to say something. Our minds might begin putting together what to say at a deeper level.

The Bible teaches that timing is everything. There's a time to every season, says Ecclesiastes. There's a time for every purpose. That's always good advice, especially in difficult situations or tight spaces. In the immediacy of tragic loss, a loving and compassionate presence is all that is needed. Then later, when the time feels right, it's always good to talk about deeper things.

Let me encourage you, when God places you in a situation where someone you know has just experienced a devastating loss,