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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Week of Painful Contradictions

Last week was an unbelievably difficult week. The contrasts on the world stage brought us contradictions beyond comprehension.

In the nation of Paraguay in South America, a budding Mother Teresa-type young mother named Julie Kurrle was traveling with her husband Norberto, son Timmy and recently adopted daughter Estyer Anahi, to acquire Anahi’s passport to prepare for their trip to America where they planned to visit congregations in the Midwest in support of their ministry. They were in an accident with a large vehicle and in a matter of moments Julie was dead and their young son Timmy, lay mortally wounded dying moments later.

Half a world away in the Nation of Norway, Anders Behring Breivik was preparing to go on trial for callously murdering seventy-seven innocent people—most of them young people and their leaders in a youth camp. It wasn’t enough to destroy those seventy-seven lives, he added to the grotesque evil of the week by using his day in court to boast about what he had done—adding to the anguish of surviving family members and friends.

Why didn’t God stop Breivik before he committed those atrocities? And keep Julie and Timmy alive to continue their godly lives? Why?

Maybe I’m not the only one asking that question.

I am reminded of the words of Thomas Paine, who wrote, during the days of the American Revolution, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” He was right and this week proves it still true.

But perhaps that is God’s plan for us.

I don’t know what caused the accident. There have been a variety of reports, but it happened half a world away and the local reports are in a language I don’t know with translations unclear. I only know it was a tragedy beyond comprehension to Norberto and Esther Anahi, who had just a few short months with her loving new mother before she lost her and her devoted big brother. As young as she is, she may not even remember either one.

What I do know is that Jesus warned us this life would not be a piece of cake. “In the world” he said, “you shall have tribulation.” John 16:33(KJV) I think his emphasis was on the “shall have”. Apparently God’s purpose for this world requires us to sometimes go through exceedingly painful experiences. Most of them are painful in the minor sense of that word, but occasionally there come those times when the pain is so great as to be overwhelming and almost unbearable. This was one of those times for the Kurrle family and for all those who love them.

We are driven to our knees before the Lord knowing that only He has overcome and in that knowledge we cling to him and pray his peace will eventually bring healing. There is a reason Jesus told us “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4(KJV) He knew this was a temporary world and loss would be a common experience that would constantly require God’s loving comfort.

I still don’t understand what happened this week and it still feels like pain too deep for words. And I didn’t know Julie well. I can’t even comprehend the pain Norberto and others close to Julie and Timmy are feeling. So let us at least do all we can to surround Norberto and Esther Anahi Kurrle with our love and prayers, and in so doing give arms and hearts to the unconditional love of God.

And let us rest in the assurance that on the other side we will understand and say “God be praised!” God will not let these deaths be wasted! He is not finished with their lives! They will live on, not only in heaven, as a part of that great cloud of witnesses, but they will live in the witness they levt behind. But knowing Julie what little I did, I know she doesn’t want us to wait until the other side to say those three powerful words--God be praised! Julie and Timmy’s lives were far too short from our point of view, but what powerful lives they were and how we praise God for them, knowing only eternity will reveal their everlasting value to the Kingdom of God.

I'm Rick Blumenberg . . . and that's My View from Tanner Creek.

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