Vintage toy plane in tall grass at the beach

How to deal with casualties without becoming one.


A pastor friend of mine reported that a half dozen families and support staff in his church had recently been struck by critical illness or death. In fact that week he was holding memorial services for two church family members.

There are two types of people in this world: those who have experienced a personal loss, and those who will. I joined the first group at the age of 11 when my father died in an accident. His death was devastating to us.

But as a young boy, I saw God provide for my hurting family and exchange my fear and pain for hope and gladness. I know from experience that there is life after loss. You may be experiencing a personal trauma right now. And you may be grieving over your own loss–while helping other people cope with theirs.

Let me be your pastor in this moment. First, let me remind you that you are not abandoned! God truly does care for you. His love doesn’t have an expiration date. “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Ro. 8:38, NLT).

Guard your heart and mind. Don’t let the times padlock your faith. Granted, you are called to serve the present age but you were built for eternity. Birds don’t limit their flight to partly sunny days. They use the drafts of the fiercest winds to propel them toward their destination.

Think of your crisis as a classroom. Think of your circumstances as God-crafted illustrations of his grace. What he teaches you, he expects you to transfer to others.

The History Channel’s presentation of the Bible included a moving portrayal of Jesus on the Cross, looking through bloodied tears at his mother and then to his disciple, John—asking John to care for her. Even there, in the Savior’s desperate hour, his thoughts were on the hurts of others.

I believe in you, and I trust you serve the Master—even in the tall grass.


You are loved,