Sometimes a sad story is even sadder if you know how it is going to turn out. While this could be true for novels and films, it is particularly poignant when it comes to history.

Proof of this is found on the pages of most history books. It's hard to read about the Native Americans when you know that millions of them will ultimately die violent deaths or as the result of pandemics of disease brought on by the contacts with settlers from Europe.

The same can be said for the unimaginable tragedy of the Holocaust, which claimed the lives of about 6 million Jewish people and an equal number of Slavs, Russian soldiers, Gypsies and others deemed "sub-human" by Hitler's Nazi regime.

Personal tragedies can also produce a measure of grief even though the people who died or were killed lived decades or even centuries ago. The great Syracuse running back, Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, died of leukemia at the age of 23 before he could even play a down in the NFL.

Then there's a prime example of human tragedy in the person of Abraham Lincoln. You know that the bittersweet joy of the unofficial end of the Civil War was destined to be followed days later by the bitterness of a crazed assassin.

There is one event in history that makes the other human tragedies bearable. Even that does not seem to end well. Jesus is flogged, beaten, spit upon and then crucified. If that were the end, then His story would be just as tragic as the others.

But it is not. Christ's death is the beginning of our salvation. His resurrection on Easter gives us the assurance that death is not final. Our lives and the lives of the ones we love do not end when we die. If we have accepted God's covenant and lived in love, we have the joy of living with Him forever.

The deaths of people now, decades ago or even many centuries ago are no less tragic, but thanks to God's grace, death is the door to eternal joy.


God's death turned tragedy into triumph.