Tragedy, the media and my future.

Tragedies occur daily, it is sad, but is it reason to let the enemy called 'fear' rule our lives for us? 
Some tragedies seem worse than others due to the media coverage or who was involved, but the fact is, no matter where a tragedy happens, someone is affected by the loss of a loved one. It is sad, it is hard, there are no good words of comfort. 
Does this mean we live our lives in a box for fear that someday some sort of tragedy might happen to us? Of course not. Some people might live this way, hiding themselves in their homes, letting fear rule their lives, mistrusting, thinking their is some sort of conspiracy behind every rock...this, in itself, is a tragedy; a meaningless waste of the gift of life. 
So yes, bad things happen. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I can't explain it, part of a fallen creation, part of God giving us free-will? However I can tell you I believe God is in control and when our time is up, no matter how we leave, we're outta this world and onto the next. 
Recently, there was a tragedy in Israel and an American tourist lost their life. It is sad, it shakes people up, people are grieving. I wish it hadn't happened, but it did. In fact, it happens every single day (American tourists falling victim to some sort of crime in a foreign country), this one just happened to make the news headlines, so it happens to feel more personal, more tragic, than others. Two women were attacked and stabbed, one died tragically, the other has to live the rest of her life with this horror of a memory. There are no words to make this situation better, it sucks. 
They were hiking and were attacked by two Arab men. Ok, so this is where people start to get all fearful and opinionated. Is hiking bad? No. Are Arabs bad? No. Can we still hike and still be friends with Arab people? Of course! Will a tragedy occur when I go hiking? It might, I could get eaten by a bear, shot by a hunter, I could fall over a branch and break my ankle, I could run out of water, I could get west-nile from a mosquito...these things don't stop me from hiking and these things could happen other places other than on a hike. Will tragedy occur when I'm in a Muslim-populated area? It might, I could be a victim of a politically-charged mission, I might wear or say the wrong thing, I might offend, I might be the reason for a hate-crime because of my religion...these things don't stop me from going to, enjoying, and loving Muslim-populated areas and these things could happen anywhere in the world, including the U.S.
So, did I go hiking in Israel with my sister-in-law by ourselves on that very same trail a few months ago? Yes. Did we hitchhike? Yes. Did we nearly run out of water? Yes. Did circumstances cause us to cut our hike shorter than planned? Yes. Did I love every second of it? Yes. Would I do it again, even after the latest tragedies? Of course! 
My life is not ruled by fear. My life is ruled by the Almighty God and I choose to trust He is in control of every situation. 
We went by ourselves and were never hurt. Bless God! We met incredibly amazing people when we hitched, even finding ourselves in the most hospitable of situations I've ever experienced in my life, they fulfilled our every need and asked for nothing in return. Bless God! We did not run out of water. Bless God! We cut it short and spent time making friends and experiencing things we would not have experienced had we been hiking. Bless God! 
If I can bless God for all these great and marvelous ways He's protected me, then why would I shun that very same God by saying I would not do it again, I would not trust Him to take care of me again? I would rather the opposite be true, I would rather take that greater faith He granted by proving His love and His protection and use it to do something even more for His kingdom, wherever that may be, whatever that may look like, no matter the 'danger'.

So what's the point? 
A person dies in a car accident every 13 minutes in the US. Tragedy! Does this mean I won't drive or ride in a car again? Of course not.
People are afraid to live downtown because of 'gangs' and crime-related tragedies that occur where stores and buildings are. Does this stop people from living in a city? Of course not.
People are afraid to live in the country because of weird psychopaths who appear in horror movies always seem to perform their horrific acts in the middle of no-where. Or they think a wild animal will attack them. Both these things could happen, but does it stop people from living in the country? Of course not. 
What about giant tragedies that have made it to our history books? The genocide in Rwanda, awful tragedy. Does that mean we stop going there? Of course not! The holocaust, saddest negligence in our human history, does that mean no one should ever travel to Germany? Of course not!
Stop watching the news and thinking this world is going to 'hell in a hand-basket.' Start praying for the victims of the tragedies and their families. Start thanking God for the blessing of life, friends, family that you are privileged to see each day. Start trusting God, listen to that quiet voice of the Spirit, and don't fear. We're not all called to live lives quietly in boxes, away from the world. We're called to go into the world, to the 'scary' corners and get dirty and trust God is protecting us while we do our work, whatever that may look like. Even the disciples did not avoid tragedy, it did not stop them from doing what they were created to do. We all have an active hour glass, so what are you going to do with yours before it runs out?


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