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the unlikely connection between joy and tragedy

Pastor, theologian, author, and cancer survivor John Piper posted an excellent and brief piece on his blog recently titled The Strange Pair of Joy and Tragedy  I found it most encouraging and wanted to pass it along.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “When the age loses the tragic, it gains despair.”

This sounds profoundly right.

The elements of life that make tragedy possible are the same as the ones that fight off despair. For tragedy to be real there has to be something hugely precious, and there has to be the capacity to feel a great emotion. When these are both present, tragedy can happen.

Despair is the horrible blankness that settles over us when nothing is seen as precious anymore and there is no capacity to feel it anyway.

As great as our tragedy may be, if we feel it to the full, it is a sign that the weapons against despair are still in place.

Often the gifts of God come in strange pairs. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29).

What tragedies have you endured that have served the purposes of God and been instrumental in your growth as a Christian?

I’d be interested to hear about them.

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  1. Chris
    October 18, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Well, I am going through a seperation from my wife right now. The marriage was never based on Christ. In fact, we rarely ever went to church at all. This event has brought me back to church…searching for answers to questions about who I am and what the purpose for my life is. I ask God to open the eyes and ears of my heart, to open a door since one has been shut and to show me what it is that I am supposed to do with my life. My relationship with God is growing every day and I find some days that I cannot stop thinking about Him and the blessings in my life, despite the unfortunate collapse of my marriage.

  2. kenstoll
    October 18, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Chris,

    I have been in your shoes in my own way. That is tough. I so much appreciate your honesty and willingness to be open. Christ will meet you where you are at—when you are most alone He is most real. At least that has been my experience. He is as real as anything, it’s us who miss Him.

    And if he has done that for me I know He will for you.

    Ken

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