Comfort in tragedy
The beginning of this holiday season has abruptly put me in my place as to my true age. When I heard it has been 50 years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, I could hardly believe it. That day seemed like it had only happened a few years ago.
I got to thinking about that somber Thanksgiving holiday, with the sadness and fear that hung in the air. While passing through the halls of my high school, heading for the last period of the day, and the week, looking forward to a week off from school, there was some buzz about the killing of a government official and the wounding of the governor of Texas. Rumor said it was probably someone from Mexico who got shot.
We were settled in class when, arriving late, our teacher came in and sat quietly at his desk. He was a combat-experienced retired Marine, now English teacher, with tears running down his cheeks. He looked the class over and said in a quiet voice, “John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the president of these United States, has been assassinated this day in Dallas, Texas. Our president is dead.” The ex-Marine, who still held a great love for his country and its commander in chief, broke down and cried.
While leaving school that day a deafening silence filled the air like I’ve never experienced since. I remember the TV burning up electricity like never before, and the newspapers, and the magazines, filled with everything you would ever want to know about any one person. My elder sister went about compiling all the media she could get her hands on and I believe she still possesses that collection of memorabilia to this day. My dad even set up his 8mm movie camera on a tripod in an attempt to record history from the TV.
At 13 years old, I still had two paper routes, an impending atomic war to worry about, Communists and puberty to complete, which put me somewhere between, should I cry too, or just be scared, but I’ll never forget that day and the Thanksgiving that brought people to the table giving thanks with feeling and prayer for peacefulness.
[Isaiah 64; Revelation 2:25-26, 3:10-11] We have all found ourselves under pressure due to the actions of others, be it personal or multilateral. The one thing that normally happens: We turn to God for answers. Job never got the answers he was looking for. Isaiah wondered if God was going to come and finish everyone off. Men of today are no different. In questionable times they are turning to God in fear of His wrath rather than looking to Jesus for comfort. “He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:15-17).
There is not one CEO on this planet that can even come close to the superiority of Christ Jesus, and even He doesn’t have all the answers (Mark 13:32-37). So what are we to do in times of question? In the Revelation of Jesus Christ recorded by John, Jesus has some simple instructions for each of us to follow without having to have all the answers. “... Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Hold on to God’s promise of eternal bliss through obedience to his word, and peace and comfort will fill your troubled soul (Hebrews 10:23).
Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at email@example.com. Find his column on his blog at http://wilsoncountynews.com.
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