How to Comfort Those Rocked by Tragedy (A Personal Story)

“You have tailor-made grace for everything we face” – This broken family had not previously required such a unique and tender touch of the supernatural graces of comfort, peace, understanding, and strength. Yet, in that moment, the throne of grace was active and powerful. I define grace as “God doing for us, in us, and through us what only he can do through the person and power of Jesus Christ.” Evidence of this grace have been undeniable to the observing world as the family has given powerful witness of the gospel in spite of such tragic loss.

“We trust your overwhelming love for the widow and the orphan” – Through tears, we prayed with confidence in the indescribable love that God has for widows and orphans. (Isaiah 1:17; Exodus 22:21-24; James 1:27). We cried out to the Lord to be Gracie’s husband in this next chapter and a “father to the fatherless” to her precious young daughters. (Isaiah 54:5; Psalm 68:5) Our Lord has shown such grace—and so powerfully—this week, and will continue to do so, through his indwelling presence and his caring people.

The Eternal Legacy of a Short Life

It’s hard for us to comprehend—but, in light of eternity, every life is but a vapor. (James 4:14) Whether someone lives eight minutes, eight years or eight decades, our time on this earth is but a momentary appearance. In fact, this life is primarily a preparation for eternity. The world has witnessed the extraordinary impact and gospel testimony of Zackari Parrish. From our perspective, his journey ended early. Yet the greater reality is that his Christian legacy has been broadcast to the world.

It’s been said that the great use of one’s life is to spend it on something that will outlast it, for the value of life is computed, not by its duration, but by its donation. While the nation watches, and the prayers of millions of people undergird this precious family, we have all been privileged to witness a glorious testament to the paramount truth of the gospel through the life of the young man who finished early, but lived well, for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “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.” This promise has proven true for the family of the amazing man we have known as Zackari Parrish. May it be true for all of us as we chose to believe—and pray—the truth.

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Daniel Henderson
Daniel Henderson is president and founder of Strategic Renewal which exists to ignite the heart of the church through personal renewal, congregational revival and leadership restoration for Christ’s glory. As a Senior Pastor for over two decades, Daniel Henderson brought prayer-based revitalization to several mega-churches. Along with Jim Cymbala and dozens of other pastors, he recently launched a national fellowship for pastors focused on the priorities of Acts 6:4, “prayer and the ministry of the word.”

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