Dealing with Tragedy

This past Friday, as you all know, a terrible tragedy occurred. Fifteen members of the Humboldt Broncos Hockey team were killed in a tragic bus accident on a rural highway near Tisdale Saskatchewan.
The tragedy has shocked and saddened Canadians from across the country and messages of sympathy have been pouring in from across the world.
As parents, losing a child is our worst fear. It is unimaginable to think of the pain and heartbreak that these parents who have lost their child must be going through right now. As a country, we have come together to mourn and to pray for these families and for those dealing with the long road of recovery ahead.
On Sunday, hundreds of people gathered around centre ice in the Humboldt arena to lay flowers in remembrance, listen to hymns and pray.
But the hurt remains and the struggle for the families is just beginning.
So how do we deal with these types of terrible tragedies? How do the families recover and live with the pain, hurt and loss?
Perhaps the team chaplain, Pastor Sean Brandow, put it best at the vigil on Sunday as he encouraged everyone affected to lean on their faith as they move forward. As he states, nothing can prepare you for moments such as this. Even as a pastor, he was momentarily lost for words, lost for what to do and how to help. Here are a few excerpts from his touching speech that has now been shared in media across the country.
“To go the hospital and walk around and just hear groaning and panic and fear and distress and pain, just nothing but darkness. To sit and hold the hand of a lifeless body.
The only part of that Psalm that was just read, for about 15 hours that I heard in my head was: Even though I walk through the valley of darkness. That’s all I heard. That’s it. That’s it. That’s all that went through my head, this is it, this is the valley of death, this is the valley of darkness. And all I saw was darkness. All I saw was hurt and anguish and fear and confusion. And I had nothing. Nothing. I’m a pastor, I’m supposed to have something.
But when it was so dark, I needed to hear from God. And only four times, and that’s all it took — four words from God were bigger than a thousand words from any human being. Someone reminded me that there’s more to that Psalm than ‘we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.’ You need to finish the statement, someone told me. ‘I will fear no evil because you’re with me.’
And as the Psalm starts, ‘The Lord is my shepherd.’ It took 15 hours of darkness to really understand that I had a shepherd that was walking with me. I don’t know if that made it any softer, but it made it better.
I told my church this morning, I’ve never felt so empty in my life. I needed to be reminded of Jesus, I needed to hear from God in this darkness. I didn’t have anything to give because I wasn’t full of hope myself…God can fill you up so that you can be a blessing to somebody else, but if you don’t have hope, you can’t be a blessing to anyone else.
I want you to be full of hope, through the person of Jesus Christ. We receive him by faith, knowing full well what he has done and what he has accomplished.
The bible tells us that He knew your name – He knew them before they were born – He gave them their breath – He has ordained their days.
You know how Jesus showed that he was who he said He was? His scars. A scar is something that is healed but still there. This isn’t going to go away…but it’s not going to be as raw.
Can we heal? Yes.
Will the scar be there? Yes.”