Bad News

What do you do when you hear bad news?  Cry?  Stomp your feet?  Give up? Shake your fist at God? Automatically counter with good news? Hide behind busy-ness?  Numb yourself with alcohol or pills? Refuse to listen? Deny that anything is happening? 

Some days it seems as if every where you turn, everyone has bad or sad news. Life is tough and it doesn't get any easier with age. Probably it is statistical in nature- the more years you live, the more people you encounter and the more problems you witness. 

Some days I want to cry out to the universe - "Enough already!  Do we have to have all this sorrow and angst in the world? Can't something good happen spontaneously?"

Generally in those moments I don't get any response. It is for me an exercise to blow off steam and to realize that is just how life is at the moment.  

With every situation of bad news, there can be an analysis: Could something have been prevented?  Was this a case of poor choices?  Did the person not seek help earlier?  The list can go on and on.  Many times, the bottom line is that the situation is horrible.  There was/is nothing that could/should have been done.  And it stinks.

I have also come to the realization that I might question God and wonder what the heck is He doing but ultimately in my soul I know that He is in control.  As much as I may rally against Him at times, I know that He is patiently loving me as I cry out in anguish. 

I think of stories in the Bible when there was horrible news and horrible situations for individuals yet God was right there for His people.  I am sure the moments when Daniel was condemned to the lion's den or his friends to the fiery furnace there was some fist shaking at God from family members.  Or  the story of Joseph being sold into slavery and all the terrible encounters (Potiphar's wife's  accusation and then sitting in jail for years) he had to face. By all accounts Joseph did nothing to cause the problems that occurred in his life.   There may have been a "why me?" thought from Joseph but we never see that.  He recognizes that even though his brothers might have meant harm, God used that situation for good.  Ultimately in all the troubles and trials of the Bible characters, God's plans were accomplished.

While I do find comfort in knowing that God is in control, my heart goes out to those experiencing difficulties.  Words of encouragement for them can be hollow and seemingly pat.  I realize that in my heart I need to pray for them and their situation and pray that my words, if I share them, may be what they need to hear at the time. I know that when I go through tough times it is comfort to have the presence and concern of people who care. 

What about you?  Who can you comfort by your presence and prayerful words?  Are you going through a rough patch?  Is there any way you can view your situation with the lens of perspective?  Or do you need time to just be in your situation and to give yourself permission to cry out to God and tell Him that the situation stinks. Bad news is as it sounds- bad.  But it won't always be that way and that is good news.