Tragedy; The Great Reminder

J. D. Conley
April 21, 2013

Mortals do not like to think about mortality, especially their own. They'll concede that death is inevitable but not imminent. Dying is something that happens to others and while one day it will happen to them, it is so far away it need not be given a fleeting thought.

But then something happens to demolish that flawed and foolish way of thinking. Events take place that force people to face the fact of death and the uncertainty of life. Last week contained two such events: A famous race ends in tragedy instead of victory; and a fertilizer plant explodes resulting in death and destruction.

Tragedy is the great reminder because it has the unique way of stamping mortality deep into our psyche. While not all tragedy results in death, it often does as did the events in Boston and Texas. Those who entered the race or the plant did not know death loomed, they may have felt they had a long time to live, yet they did not.

Human beings must learn the harsh lesson tragedy teaches. It is a great reminder that nothing and no one should be taken for granted. Not a person, a touch, a look, a day, an hour, a minute, or a breath. No one has a lock on tomorrow (Pro.27:1; Jas.4:14). Let us have David's attitude toward mortality "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am " (Ps.39:4).

Tragedies are horrific. Especially are they deplorable when they have been devised and brought about by evil implementers. But if anything worthwhile can be culled out of tragedy let it be a renewed sense of duty toward God and an acute awareness of our mortality. Allow tragedy to "...teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Ps.90:12).