Truth from Tragedy

The tragedies of this past weekend’s shark attacks along the NC coast have everyone talking. As individuals and families plan vacations to the seaside some are considering leaving the beach completely off their schedule.

miami_beach_station_beach_920I do think there are some life lessons that can be illustrated out of this tragedy, but first I want to be clear that as I make these points I am not placing any blame on the individuals who suffered so much from the recent shark attacks on Oak Island, North Carolina. Media reports that both victims are doing much better and their recovery is nearly guaranteed. For this we are all grateful.

At the risk of being called insensitive, I think there are at least three lessons that we can take from these tragic events. Please indulge me for a few thoughts.

There are always sharks in the water! This is more than just a nautical observation. I am really talking about life. Just as we must realize that in the ocean these dangerous creatures lurk beneath the surface constantly hunting for food, there are dangerous people and things circling our physical and spiritual lives every moment of every day. The bible says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around … looking for someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8 nlt) We must always be aware of our circumstances.

Shallow water is not always safe. Knowing that potential dangers exist is not enough. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will just wade around those things and never be in any danger. Both of the injured teens were reportedly in waist deep water when they were attacked. In our personal lives we must be diligent to stay grounded in the Word of God knowing that it is our protection from our enemies. You are most quickly overcome by evil in the relatively safe places of life because we are sure nothing really bad can happen here.

Don’t swim near a fishing pier! Again, in this particular tragedy both victims were swimming in the water that was very close to the popular fishing pier. From that pier many were baiting the water, which caused more and more activity in the water. This reminds me that there are some places and people you and I simply need to avoid. Not everyone or every place is for you. You are in constant danger of the bad overcoming the good in you and this is often circumstantial. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 niv) It is far easier to resist the devil when we are submitting to God! Finally though, remember

You are never alone! It was the quick response of the others at the scene that saved the lives of these teens. I am certain that all the families are grateful for the help of others. Never forget that we should be thankful for the people that come to our aid, hold us accountable, and lead us around the things that can/will harm or destroy us. Each of us has an opportunity to serve Christ more fully by being engaged in the life of others. Look for these opportunities today.