Coping when the unthinkable happens

Voices of Religion

Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room, I was moved by the family sorrows described by a woman sitting beside me. Listening to her account of these heartbreaking losses of loved ones was an experience I’ll not soon forget.


How can we cope with such losses? Where can we find comfort when the unthinkable happens? To answer this question, I yield to our professional counselor son, Timothy, sharing the following excerpts from his publication, “HIS COMFORT ZONE”:

“You’ve heard it before: ‘You need to break out of your comfort zone!’ In most cases such counsel refers to that place of complacency where inspiration, motivation, achievement and growth have been forfeited for the rut of a comfortable and familiar, if mundane, status quo.

“But when life’s rocky road offers cold comfort only, what are you to do? Sickness attacks. Friends, even family members betray. Financial security is fleeting. And death, which awaits us all, is sure to remind you of that stark fact by visiting too often those around you, those closest to you.

“So perhaps you have bridled your ambitions, reigned in your risks and circled your wagons — only to find yourself huddled alone in a phony fortress. On the other hand, you may have opted for a more proactive approach, moderating your diet, getting plenty of rest, relaxation and recreation. You may be reaching out to loved ones, helping out at community functions, and looking out for those less fortunate — but peace of mind eludes you still.

“Maybe you’ve chosen to bolster your bravery with booze or likewise numb your nerves with various substances illicit or legal. Sadly, millions do, only to compound the calamity for themselves, their loved ones and society at large with this the cruelest counterfeit of all.

“You’ve been wondering how to cope, what to do, where to turn — when the real question is ‘Who?’ Who can provide a zone of true and abiding comfort?

“Jesus says, ‘Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ Jesus was no stranger to stress or sadness. He was a ‘Man of sorrows’ and acquainted with grief. And He didn’t promise His followers then or now a rose colored Pollyanna paradise on earth. On the contrary, He says, ‘In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.’”

As you earnestly seek that zone of “peace that transcends understanding” during your time of trouble, it is our prayer that you’ll find this affirmation helpful:

I’m casting all my worldly cares —
Of health, of wealth, the lack thereof,
Tomorrow’s and yesterday’s affairs,
All temporal things I think I love
Upon the One who truly cares
More faithful than a brother, He,
Who tenderly His shoulder shares
And whispers, “Come, come unto Me.”

Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. He can be reached at


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