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“We all face tragedy. What’s more, we have all received the symbols of tragedy.”

A thought by Max Lucado (2012-01-02) from his book, He Chose the Nails  (p. 119). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. (Click on the title to go to Amazon.com to buy the book.)

Max explains, “Yours might be a telegram from the war department, an ID bracelet from the hospital, a scar, or a court subpoena. We don’t like these symbols, nor do we want these symbols. Like wrecked cars in a junkyard, they clutter up our hearts with memories of bad days.”

He says, “Could God use such things for something good? How far can we go with verses like this one: ‘In everything God works for the good of those who love him’ (Rom. 8: 28)? Does ‘everything’ include tumors and tests and tempers and terminations? John would answer yes. John would tell you that God can turn any tragedy into a triumph, if only you will wait and watch.

“To prove his point, he would tell you about one Friday in particular. ‘Later, Joseph from Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take the body of Jesus. (Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus, because he was afraid of some of the leaders.) Pilate gave his permission, so Joseph came and took Jesus’ body away. Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus at night, went with Joseph. He brought about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. These two men took Jesus’ body and wrapped it with the spices in pieces of linen cloth, which is how they bury the dead.” (John 19: 38– 40)”

Max says, “As long as there were no graveclothes, as long as there was no tomb, as long as there was no coroner, there was hope. But the arrival of the hearse triggered the departure of any hope. And to this apostle, the graveclothes symbolized tragedy.”

Max later says, “John didn’t know on that Friday what you and I now know. He didn’t know that Friday’s tragedy would be Sunday’s triumph. John would later confess that he ‘did not yet understand from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead’ (John 20: 9).”

He closes this chapter with, “The Bible says that ‘in everything, God works for the good of those who love him.’ Before we close this chapter, do this simple exercise. Remove the word everything, and replace it with the symbol of your tragedy. For the apostle John, the verse would read: ‘In burial clothing, God works for the good of those who love him.’… How would Romans 8: 28 read in your life? In hospital stays, God works for the good. In divorce papers, God works for the good. In a prison term, God works for the good… As hard as it may be to believe, you could be only a Saturday away from a resurrection. You could be only hours from that precious prayer of a changed heart, ‘God, did you do this for me?’”

So what tragedy symbol do you believe God is going to work out for good in your life?

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