So often I’ve heard that the two inevitable things in life are “death and taxes”. I’m here to tell you that there’s a third, that is tragedy. It occurs in numerous forms and skips no one. That being a universal truth, the questions are:

  • Why does tragedy happen?
  • What are we supposed to do with it?

Tragedy Comes in Different Forms

Tragedy can strike as war or terrorism, a natural disaster, or a horrific mass accident. It can be something more personal, like separation or divorce, death of a loved one, a major health issue, addiction, a horrible personal failure, unresolved conflict with a friend or family, loss of property, or a financial crisis. We can’t escape it.

On a large scale, there can be great suffering, destruction, loss of life, and distress. Individually, it brings great sadness, despair, isolation, and even depression. Whether far or near, global or more personal, tragedy exists.

All of us, you and me, can point to a tragedy, either personally or in the lives of those closest to us. I suffered great tragedy in my life, losing my first wife to addiction. A 13-year battle, our kids and I lived through a war. I tell people that if they know addiction that they’d believe the stories we have to tell; if not, they’d think we were lying. They’re that bizarre. The lives we lived during that period of time were absolutely crazy.  

A Turning Point

Tragedy becomes a defining moment in our lives, whether for good or ill. It can be tempting to turn our tragedies and any wounds they may have caused into excuses, preventing us from moving forward, to go after our dreams or to take risks. Instead of learning from them and letting them make us stronger, we can let the scars of our experiences overwhelm us.

I had to learn that tragedy, if we allow it, can be a wake-up call, an invitation to accept the reality of our limitations. The fact is that we can’t control everything. Nor can we stop bad things from happening.

There are a couple expressions that we’ve all heard, that are more true than we possibly know. They are:

  • “What doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger” (and)
  • “God only gives us what He knows we can handle”.

I believe both to be very true. It is in our tragedies, our defeats in life, where our biggest lessons are learned. Part of those lessons learned are from the wounds we endure.

Growing Amidst the Trials

What I’ve come to understand is that we all experience tragedies, defeats, and set-backs…they’re inevitable.  Although never easy to embrace, I’d encourage you to accept and learn from them. It’s my experience that my greatest tragedies have resulted in my greatest opportunities for growth. As such, there’s an element of gratitude for me.

So, to revisit those questions:

  • Why does tragedy happen?
    • To bring us closer to God
    • To help make us better versions of ourselves
  • What are we supposed to do with it?
    • Learn from the experience and be grateful (can be tough….subject of a future blog), knowing how much God loves you
    • Make a ministry out of your misery; take what you’ve endured and learned and help others

The above may be a stretch for you, but I believe it to my core. I’ve lived it. Thank God!!!

Please provide me with your comments at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com.

May God Bless you on your journey to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

What we can control is the way we live our lives, and the way we accept the things that happen to us, the good and the bad.


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