This past week was certainly among the most turbulent weeks America and the world has ever experienced. It began on Monday, at the Boston Marathon, when a joyous event was turned into a scene of terror. Three people who had gathered with many others to cheer on the runners as they crossed the finish line were killed by two bombs that exploded on the sidewalk. One of those killed was a restaurant manager, another was a young Chinese college student, and the third was an eight-year-old boy who was there to cheer on his father. 183 other people were injured, many of whom had to have legs amputated because of the blast.
This past week, poisoned letters were also sent to President Obama and a U.S. Senator from Mississippi. Thankfully, these letters were intercepted before they reached their destinations.
On Tuesday, a massive earthquake struck the Iran-Pakistan border. The quake was so powerful that it was felt across the Middle East and Asia from Dubai to India. 34 people died from this earthquake.
On Wednesday evening of this past week, a fire broke out at a fertilizer company in a small town in central Texas. Volunteer firefighters rushed to the scene. While they were fighting the fire, a huge explosion occured. It was so powerful that it registered as a small earthquake. 14 people, including the firefighters, have since been confirmed dead, many people have not been accounted for, and dozens more are without homes or material belongings.
Finally, on Saturday, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck a region in southwestern China. At the latest report, over 200 people are dead from this quake and over 6,700 people have been injured.
Many people recognized that so much tragedy in such a short period of time seems unusual. Two CNN reporters even referred to the Boston Marathon bombing, the West, Texas explosion, and the poisoned letters sent to President Obama and a U.S. senator as being similar to biblical plagues that seemed to be hitting the country all at the same time.
The terrible loss of life that struck the world this past week is both astounding and heart breaking. All of the people who died from events that were beyond their control have one thing in common. None of them thought they were likely going to die that day. They were living their lives just like you and I are doing today. They just wanted to go to work, go to school, go to the store, and spend time with their family and friends. They wanted to enjoy a fun sporting event with other residents of their city. They wanted to spend a peaceful evening at home eating dinner or watching TV. Yet, all of them were here one moment and gone the next. In the space of a bomb blast, an earthquake, or an explosion, they each passed from life into eternity.
Such events should cause us to soberly remember that our lives are just as fragile. We are not special. We are no better than those people who died this past week. Hebrews 9:27 says that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” We, too, can be here one moment and gone the next. We can pass from life to eternity in a moment of time by some unexpected, tragic event that is totally beyond our control. Such events remind us that we need to be ready for what comes after death — our eternal destination.