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A Fiery Crash and the Resurrection

          For our community of Orland, CA, this has been a month of both tragedy and hope.  On April 10, 2014, a fiery head-on crash of a semi-truck and a charter bus filled with students occurred just about 100 yards north of our church property, which is located next to Interstate 5.  There were students filled with hope as they journeyed to investigate their possible future enrollment in a North State University.  The lives of so many, filled with hope for the future, suddenly were filled with heartache, sorrow and many questions.
          The multiple sirens wailed as the first responders sped to the scene of the accident, guided by the column of thick, black smoke rising against the horizon.  As the minutes and hours passed, the full extent of this horrific event began to unfold. Innocent teens looking forward to further education as well as productive lives, were among the ten fatal victims.  We "Orlandites" were confronted with the fact that this was not happening back East nor in some Midwestern town.  It was happening in our own community!  Orland, California is barely visible on the map of United States, but now it was the focus of national news!  How would the community, local government agencies and churches respond?  A local town hall meeting later revealed the competency and speed of the first responders which included our volunteer firemen.  The community response was so tremendous that the Red Cross asked that the public stop bringing food, water and blankets to help the victims.
          Last Friday many in our community remembered another tragic, historical event which resulted in the death of an innocent and blameless person.  Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, gave up His life voluntarily on the cross.  Sorrow and hopelessness also filled the hearts of His followers on that first "Good Friday".  However, their sorrow and despair was changed into hope three days later as the word spread that Jesus was alive, and then they celebrated His resurrection!
          In light of the tragedies of life which bring sorrow and despair, we who believe in Jesus Christ also often fail to come up with answers to life's questions of why.  When we can't answer them and don't understand them, then we like Mary and Martha in the Gospel of John chapter 11, can also go to Jesus.  When we do so, no doubt we will also hear the same message of hope that they received from Him:  "Trust Me, for I am the Resurrection and the Life!  He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live!"

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