When Crisis Comes Home

It’s good to be writing again. This is my first post since our city experienced the tragic Metrolink Train Crash back on Friday, September 12. While the crash itself happened right outside our city limits, of the 25 people killed in the wreck, 10 were residents of Simi Valley.

I honestly have mixed feelings about the fact that none of those killed or injured were a part of the congregation I serve as Pastor. I am so grateful that our Church Family can share stories of God’s hand being upon circumstances that would have had a number of them on that very train. For various reasons, they weren’t.

The mixed feelings come in for those that were not spared somehow. I don’t come anywhere near trying to have answers anymore. I used to. At one time, I felt the pressure of having to produce some kind of answer that would somehow save someone from the grief ahead of them in their uncertainty.

Somewhere along the way, I got honest. I started to finally just say, “I am so sorry for your loss. I wish I could take your pain for you. I have no answers.”

I do, however, point people to God. He may not give us our answer today, but someday, we will get it. I believe that beyond cliche or form answer. I believe it to the depths of my very soul. And that’s where I point people.

He’s the Savior, I am not. When I rest my heart in that truth, I am able to navigate crisis becomes a lot differently.

That doesn’t mean that crisis is any easier. When it comes home, everything else adjusts. (Thus, my absence from posting here for a number of days.)

Where the crisis did come home for me was as a friend to Pastors in town and as a Police Chaplain.

As a friend to Pastors, I have a couple of friends who DID lose people in their church and whose congregants were badly injured. I have offered a shoulder and an ear.

As a Police Chaplain, I was not at the scene of the accident, but did get called upon to represent our City in two public gatherings held to memorialize and offer opportunities for people to grieve and mourn. That is a true honor to me.

Being a Chaplain puts me in places behind the scenes that others rarely get to see and experience. Watching City officials grapple with the demands and responsibilities of their leadership while still allowing for their own grief is an interesting place. (Just a quick plug … I am very proud of how our City has responded to and handled this incident.)

Bottom line as it pertains to Pastor For Life …. when crisis comes home, everything else must adjust. You can’t give what you don’t have. Crisis situations demand a lot more giving than everyday life.

If you’re facing tragedy and crisis in your life, be sure to find the people God has placed in your path that YOU can lean on. Give yourself extra time and grace to allow your own mind and soul to wrap itself around what just happened and what continues to unravel over the next days and weeks. It is a process that takes time.

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