How to handle tragic events

Tragic events happen.  They are gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, but they happen. Whether it is something that happens to one person and one family or something of national implications like what just happened in Orlando, there is going to be a lot of questions. “Why” or “how could this happen” and “why would God allow this to happen”. Those are just some of the standard questions that get ask when tragedy strikes.

tragic The reality is that no matter how hard we try and how many of these situations we’ve gone through and dealt with, we rarely know the answers and we can’t know them.  We can only speculate.  However, there is one thing that we can do.  And that is to simply be with our friends who are processing this tragedy.

As a minister who have been through a variety of student and family tragedies over my years, there seem to be a lot of reactions we can have. We could want to send flowers, send notes, try to organize a vigil or something else.  And while those all may be very good to do and appropriate, they may not be the most effective.

When we can simply be with the people dealing with the tragedy and help them process, as they need, I have found that tends to be the best thing you can give them.  It shows them that you care for them and that want to be there for them…in their time…not yours.

So reach out to those dealing with tragic events.  It’s ok that you don’t have the right words, or the godly wisdom we all desire.  It’s ok that if you don’t send them flowers or cards.  Simply be there for them and that love over time will be something that stands out to them, especially when that next tragic event happens. :-/

What about you?  What have you found to be effective in handling tragic events you have come in contact with? Share your thoughts below or on social media using #ymsidekick to share.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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