Helping People to Meet God • Make Friends • Grow in Faith

The worst thing

A few weeks ago one of my children asked me what might be the worst thing that could happen to us. An asteroid hitting earth? “Possibly,” I said. But if it destroyed most life on earth very quickly, it may not be that bad. The despair and reaction of people before it hit may be worse. Instead I suggested that nuclear war may be even worse. The suffering would be wide-spread; many would die a slow death; societal and ecological destruction might follow. I didn’t describe the possibilities in detail, though we discussed why the nations of the world might unleash this nightmare on the earth.

Later on, I reflected on the conversation and thought that maybe some people are already experiencing something similar to the worst that could happen to them, not just in some war zone, but right here among us. I thought about the unnerving case of someone who is falsely accused and convicted of a crime. Would that not be like the end of the world? What about people who have to see their children, whom they love, destroy the lives of others as well as their own? Would that not tear your heart out? What about people who had to realise that the person who they trusted the most exploited them? What about someone who has to live each day with excruciating pain? Despite what may seem like the end of the world to these people, the world continues as it always has. How do people continue then? And how do we interact with those who have to endure these things? What do we say to them? And how can we continue on with confidence when what we hold dear is continuously threatened? Just a small change of events could also pull the rug from under our feet.

Of course, as Christians we know that our hope and full value are in Christ. That can give us an anchor. It doesn’t make all those “worst things” unreal, but can give us hope beyond the trauma. We’ll still carry the wounds of these events with us. Fear and sorrow will still be part of life. As Christians we might even feel the hurt of the world more keenly and weep with Jesus at the world’s suffering. Hopefully, we can be honest about human fragility both in our own life and the life of others.