• Foundations of Truth

Tragedy



The most unrealistic thing about the Marvel superhero movies is not the fact that there are super soldier serums or literal gods from outer space…it is the fact that Marvel storylines don’t seem to believe in tragedies. In some capacity or another, everyone gets a happy ending.

That’s a nice thought, but it doesn’t match with reality.


If the pandemic has done anything, it has driven home the fragility of society and how easily it is disturbed by something as small as a virus. This was emphasized by a story out of Europe, which is dealing with hospitals that are at capacity and unable to treat patients due to the overwhelming number of individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 over the last two years.

“At the Royal Free Hospital in London, Dr. Leye Ajayi described a patient who faced delays in his initial cancer diagnosis. ‘Unfortunately, when we eventually got round to seeing the patient, his cancer had already spread,’ Ajayi told Sky News. ‘So we’re now dealing with a young patient in his mid-50s who, perhaps if we’d seen him a year ago, could have offered curative surgery. We’re now dealing with palliative care.’” [1]


This is the embodiment of a real-world tragedy: “a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force…having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror.” [2]


Genesis 3:22-23 recounts the “Fall” of humanity from grace and into the curse of sin that covers the entire earth. There God says, “‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished Adam from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.”


Death is an ever-present part of our world, no matter what many anti-aging cream and hair replacement advertisements will tell you. We are incredibly vulnerable creatures. Our modern way of life is a major anomaly in the course of human history. Historically, roughly 46.2% of people died before reaching adulthood. [3]


As Job 14:1-2 proclaims, “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.”

The movies we consume, like Avengers, rarely close with a sad or unhappy ending (Avengers: Infinity War excepted). All of us want to feel good when we leave the movie theater but, sometimes, we need to face up to life.


In the real world, there are not always third options and happy endings. Decisions have consequences, even well-intentioned ones like re-directing medical resources toward fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of these decisions is told in the lives of people like the unfortunate cancer patient in London.


Let this serve as a reminder that the choices made by leaders have real and, yes, tragic consequences.


Not everyone lives; not everyone gets to walk off into the sunset. Humanity is fallen and fragile, always at the mercy of death that was introduced through sin.


Nonetheless, Revelation 19:11 gives us prophetic assurance that Jesus will return: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war.”


Let us never forget this sobering fact, even as we live in the hope of the resurrection to come. We will never see perfection achieved in our earthly lives. Perfect justice, peace, and tranquility will only happen when the King returns.


Let us all eagerly await that day.


Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

 

[1] Lori Hinnant, “Omicron exposes inflexibility of Europe’s public hospitals,” AP News (January 15, 2021), https://apnews.com/article/coronavirus-pandemic-health-business-london-united-nations-23cf192a0719aa86f9a79e74ae5bcdb0

[2] “tragedy noun” Merriam-Webster (n.d.), https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tragedy

[3] Max Roser, “Mortality in the past – around half died as children,” Our World in Data

(June 11, 2019), https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality-in-the-past#:~:text=Historical%20estimates%20of%20mortality&text=Across%20the%20entire%20historical%20sample,the%20first%20year%20of%20life

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