Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Waiting in Tragedy

Waiting in the Shadow of Tragedy


Confession time: I don’t wait well. I’m impatient for good times to arrive. And I chafe under the burden of suffering while waiting for it to end.

I’m guessing I have lots of company. Waiting is difficult. It’s hard enough when we’re anticipating a joyful event. But being in a holding pattern in the face of tragedy is even worse.

Negative news cycles. Grief over losses. Broken relationships. Frightening diagnoses. Anniversaries of terrorist attacks.

Tragedies loom over us, casting their shadows so deep and wide that we release any hope of rescue. And even when the tragedy finally passes, we’re so stressed that we’ve conditioned ourselves to wait for the “other shoe to drop.”

Because I don’t wait well, I can miss out on the gift of grace God offers. Talk about self-fulfilling destructive behavior! Can you relate? We’re so busy asking why or focusing on the weight of our circumstances that we turn our backs on the Source who equips us with grace to not just wait, but to wait in joyful anticipation as He works.

Such grace is:


  • “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).


  • “And from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (John 1:16).


  • “Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of His own purpose and grace” (2 Tim. 1:9).


  • “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).


  • “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).


  • “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people” (Titus 2:11).


  • “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).


  • “And we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).


For more than a year and a half, we’ve all been waiting in the shadow of tragedy as this pandemic lingers. Some of us have been waiting months or years for healing for ourselves or for loved ones. But like most things in life, we have a choice. In every situation we come to the proverbial “fork in the road.” Will we look up with hands open wide to receive the grace God is ready to pour out to us? Or will we allow the temporary tragedies that befall us to block our view of our gracious God?

The choice is mine . . . and yours.


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  1. Sue

    Thank you, Ava, for this reminder of God’s grace. Of having hope because of His grace. I want to and will open my hands to receive His grace. Sometimes I forget.

  2. Janice D. Green

    Thank you. Great words of encouragement for the waiting times.

  3. Melissa Henderson

    I pray we all will seek Him when the waiting is hard. Thank you for this encouragement.

  4. Melinda Viergever Inman

    Beautiful thoughts, Ava! In short, will we trust God? I love this C.S. Lewis quote, for it encapsulates so many of my life experiences: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

    This is a part of the grace of Romans 8:28. All things means all things. Even the painful, even the parts that hurt, even in the trials that linger God WILL orchestrate even these for good. That is powerful grace in action, which we have because we love him and are called according to his purpose. Thank God for that calling and this grace!

  5. Yvonne Morgan

    I chose grace and I pray each of us find it when we are waiting in the shadows of tragedy. The last year + has been hard and we all need to hear such wonderful encouragement. Thanks for sharing

  6. Jessica Brodie

    Thanks for this absolutely beautiful and heartening reminder of the peace, hope, joy and rest found in God’s grace. It truly surpasses ALL. God bless you, Ava!

  7. Nancy E. Head

    I’m not very good at waiting either–but I’ve had many situations where I’m glad I did. God showed me great mercy, once especially, all because I waited. His will is always worthwhile.

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