Toronto – in the care of the Great Physician

by Paul Zabel

Earlier this month, people throughout Canada, North America, even the world learned of the horrific bus crash in rural Saskatchewan involving the members and those connected with the Humboldt Broncos Jr. Hockey Team. Following this tragedy as I attended worship in a couple of different churches in our East District of Lutheran Church–Canada, I was encouraged and personally strengthened by the prayers spoken by the pastors on behalf of those involved and for those affected either directly or indirectly. Now, only 17 days later, on Monday, April 23, we were again shocked and saddened as we learned about the 10 people who died, and the 16 others injured when a van drove down a sidewalk and struck multiple pedestrians along one of Toronto’s busiest streets in what is now being called “a horrific attack.”

Please keep the people of Toronto in your prayers.

In times of fear it is vitally important that we encourage one another and support our congregations serving the Lord in areas near the site of the attack. May our gracious Lord and God provide them the strength and the opportunities to bear witness to Christ’s love and reach out with our Lord’s powerful, life-giving, life-sustaining presence. May our Lord Jesus bring His comfort and peace to the grieving, healing to the injured, and encouragement to all of us as we come to grips with the fact that these kinds of events can happen and are happening right where we live and where our God has placed us.

Some of the emotions and after-effects experienced by those directly and indirectly involved, and that we may experience as a result of this tragedy, could include: grief, fear, anger, and even doubt. Grief is that wave of emotion that returns to us time after time upon hearing of another’s death or loss. We know, for example, that it will be extremely hard if not impossible for some to return to or walk in the area in which the Toronto attack took place. Grief eats away at the life God has intended for us. Grief is an emotion, a wound, that does not always heal itself. Grief requires a physician’s care—the care of Jesus, the Great Physician!

During the last few days we have seen faces filled with fear on our TV screens—parents, spouses, children and relatives. Police, fire fighters, first responders, and medical personnel may also have difficulty coping and continuing their important duties in the aftermath of what has taken place. Fear also requires the Great Physician’s care!

After the shock comes deep, deep sorrow. And then out of sorrow often comes anger. Even now questions are being asked as to how prepared those in authority are to allow and deal with such tragedies. And even why, perhaps, some of the signals present before the actual event were not identified or acted upon. Anger, left to itself, can grow and fester until it completely takes over one’s entire being. Anger, too, requires the Great Physician’s care!

Doubt can also infect all of us on an even deeper level. Many have already begun asking: “Why did this horrific attack take place?” Doubt has a way of sneaking up on us when we least expect it. But when it does creep in and affect us both physically and spiritually, we need to be reminded that there is the Great Physician, our Lord Jesus Christ, who still desires to know and care for those affected by this tragedy—and for us as well!

Let us continue praying for our Lord Jesus to strengthen, comfort, and sustain those who were affected directly and indirectly by the attack in Toronto and for each of us in our witness to Him. He calls upon us to remember and point others to the cross upon which He died for our sins. He died for us; He died for all those who lost their lives on April 23 and in the subsequent days. He died for all those hurt and injured. He died for all those who are experiencing or will experience grief, fear, anger, and doubt. The Great Physician invites us to come to Him and He will give us life—the life He won for us on the hill of Calvary and sealed for us by His resurrection from the dead!

Rev. Paul Zabel is president of Lutheran Church–Canada’s East District

Related article: When we grieve

One response to “Toronto – in the care of the Great Physician”

  1. British Columbian Lutheran says:

    I join you in praying that the Lord Jesus Christ will comfort all those who have suffered in this terrible, appalling and cruel tragedy. I also pray that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the people who are grieving and that they will come to know Him as their Saviour and Redeemer.

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Posted By: canluth
Posted On: April 25, 2018
Posted In: Headline, News, Theological reflection,

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