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Using Media When Dealing With Tragedy

How do we confront events that seem too much to handle?

During tragedies like the recent shooting at Virginia Tech University, the church is looked to for comfort, hope, and answers. None of these things are easy to come by in the face of such obvious injustice, but we train our eyes on Christ and pray for comfort and grace to all involved.

Here at FaithVisuals.com, we know that you might be trying to figure out how to talk about the topic or address the issue of suffering and the problem of evil in your church this week. I've selected a few videos I hope will help you in your search:

"Garrett's Story"
This is a testimony of hope, told by a young man who lost both his parents at an early age; one to murder, and the other to suicide. The video doesn't offer easy answers or clichéd solutions, but instead takes an honest look at the struggles that accompany a tragedy. Garrett talks about feeling afraid, distancing himself from relationships, and grief. His final conclusion offers hope and an encouraging look at what happens when we turn to God in our most desperate moments.

"All I Can Say"
This video uses the metaphor of a man alone on the street to express the isolationism we can feel as humans. Often in times of tragedy and suffering, we cry out for God, not knowing if he's near. This powerful portrayal of human limitation and despair helps introduce the truth that, though we may feel alone during these times of darkness, God's comforting hand is never far away.

"Pain Opener"
We all know the world is a broken place, filled with injustice, oppression, and events and actions that are contrary to the person of God. This aggressive video shows quick-edited snippets of images of pain and worldwide suffering. Set to a hard-rock background, this hammers home the reality of the world—we are broken, and without Jesus, we do horrible things to one another.

"Psalm of Life"
This is a video showing the path leading from grief to God's comforting arms. Based on Psalm 23, this clip shows that trusting in God doesn't spare us from mourning or sorrow—however, God is there as a comforter, one who restores our souls. Through seasons of joy and pain, God will lead us and be our ever-present help.

"Peace on Earth"
Though this video occurs at Christmas, its lessons are applicable any time of year. A group of people ponder the reality of peace on this Earth in the face of uncertain lives, difficult relationships, and unsteady circumstances. While many of them are unsure about finding peace anywhere, one woman repeats the promise of God: "Fear not. I am with you." Without resorting to easy solutions, this video shows that only the peace of God can satisfy.

I hope you'll be able to use one of these. If you're a pastor and you've come here looking for sermon resources, I'd also like to point you to our sister site, PreachingToday.com, and its accompanying blog. The blog is being updated regularly with thoughts and reflections specifically designed to help pastors address this tragedy in their churches. Our sister publication, Leadership Journal, also has some resources available.

We hope that you will be able to communicate the love, grace, peace, and hope of Christ to all those you come in contact with during this troubling period. We also encourage you to post comments at the bottom of this article, particularly if you have suggestions on how to talk about these kinds of issues through media. With you, we pray for God's peace and comfort to anyone immediately touched by this tragedy.

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