God in a Crisis

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Life is full of crisis. Even as I write that sentence, my mind flashes back to some of the crisis moments our family has gone through: my wife’s surgery to repair her detached retina, our struggle of dealing with a close family member’s early onset dementia, our numerous ER trips for our kids, changing jobs, moving... the list could go on and on. If you have lived any amount of time, you have experienced several crisis moments. Maybe it was a job loss, a divorce, a death of a loved one, or a serious illness.

Jesus told us when he walked among us, “In this world you will have trouble”. He did not say that you “might” have trouble; he said you “will” have trouble. You will experience crisis. How you respond during a crisis, in many ways, directly reflects your confidence in God. Is God in control or not? We have all heard stories where someone goes through an amazing crisis and we think, "I don't know if I could hold up," and yet we watch as their faith in God becomes a model for many. How is that possible?

God uses times of crisis to develop character. This is the substance of many of the stories we love most in the Bible. Why is the story of story of the three Hebrew children so inspiring? (if you haven’t read it, you should! It is found in Daniel Chapter 3) It is because these three young men are an example of complete trust in God in the midst of a massive crisis. They made it through the crisis and now they stand as amazing examples of true character.

So what do you do when you find yourself in crisis? First, don’t panic. Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him...”  God is at work in ALL things, and that includes crisis moments like the one you are in. Your situation did not catch God off guard or by surprise. He is not wringing his hands wondering what to do now. This verse says, and I believe, that he is working in all things to bring about good. And your current situation is no different. God will bring about good for you and your family. I firmly believe that. 

Second, guard your heart. The enemy will try to bring about despair and worry. But God instructs us not to “worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 Every time you are tempted to worry, let that be your reminder to pray, and pray about everything. If you will do this, you will find peace in the midst of crisis.

Third, get out of rows and into circles. If your only church experience is on Sunday mornings sitting in a row, you are missing one of the most powerful gifts that God has given us - meaningful relationships. If you are going through a crisis, you need to be sitting in circles, “eyeball to eyeball”, with other people who can walk you through difficult times; and you can’t get that by only showing up on Sunday mornings. You need to be in a Life Group with other people that are headed in the direction you want to go. And if you are at Next Level Church you can do that by signing up here.

Finally, know that God is with you as you walk this difficult path. He may seem silent but he is not distant and he loves you very much. So, what would your life look like a year from now if you chose to not panic during this crisis? But instead, chose to guard your heart with prayer, made some friends and built some encouraging relationships. Do you think we would see God leading you out of crisis? I am confident we would.

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