Each week I keep a very tightly scheduled routine. There is seldom any free time programmed in. But when tragedy stikes, I am never too busy to take time to be in a time of need. This last Saturday, I got an unexpected call from the preacher at one of the churches in the dangerous south end of Bogotá. The area where this church is located is so violent that the local Colombian leadership does not even like for me to visit the church alone. One of them will always go with me when I have a visit scheduled. But I had other things planned last Saturday when I got a very sad call.

“Could you please come down immediately?” he asked as he quickly explained the reason for his call. There was a family in the church whose son had just gotten out of the army. The young man had a girlfriend and had gone with her to some social event the night before. His mother had begged him not to go out at night because of the danger but he insisted he had no enemies and nothing of value to attract the attention of thieves. He left home that evening but never returned. The next morning, he was found stabbed and strangled in an empty lot near his home. The grief-stricken parents wanted me to preach at his funeral.

When such a tragedy strikes, I am never too busy, so I dropped everything an took off for the South end of Bogotá. There was not time to advise one of the other preachers so I went alone. Given the reason for my trip, I was certain that God would watch over me.

It was a sad and emotional time as this distraught and extremely poor family buried their only son. I preached a sermon of hope and of divine justice. I accompanied them to the cemetary and held a brief devotional there as well. After it was over, we hugged and cried together as they thanked me profusely for caring enough to take the time to be with them in their grief. It was the least I could do.
As part of God’s family, it is important that we make time for the needs of others. This is especially true when tradgedy strikes. To lose a loved one is always difficult, but to suffer alone compounds the hurt. That is why as Christians we should never be too busy to take time to rush to the side of someone who is suffering.