Saturday, February 18, 2012
This past month at Life Streams, the topic was “Life Crisis.” Timely message for many of us. I once heard that at any given time, we are either in the middle of a crisis, we’ve just been through a crisis, or one is about to happen. Where do you fit into this paradigm? What do we do when we find ourselves in a life crisis?
First, what is a crisis? A crisis can take many different forms. For example, financial crisis, relationship crisis, employment crisis, health crisis, natural disaster crisis, and faith crisis. A crisis is a trial, usually with a turning point. It can cause a sudden change, which may lead to better or worse.
Naturally we don’t like crisis. Why? It is painful. We have little or no control, so we are afraid. We suffer. And we don’t want to suffer.
James 1:2-4 tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Joy? How is that possible?
Because trials test our faith. When was the last time your faith was tested? How did you do?
Recently I’ve been studying the Scriptures about spiritual warfare. After reading classic passages from the New Testament (e.g. Eph. 6:10-18, James 4:7, 1 Pet. 5:8), my sister encouraged me to take a look at some battles in the Old Testament. Then a dear friend pointed me to the beginning of Judges. I noticed that after Joshua and the elders died, the next generation “neither knew the Lord, nor what he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10) They forsook the Lord so He handed them over to their enemies. Why? To test them and to teach them to fight. They didn’t have any battle experience, so God brought them battles to teach them warfare. (Judges 3:1-2) And to test whether they would obey God. (Judges 3:4)
So let’s examine ourselves and our responses to the trials, the life crisis. How we handles the storms of life will tell us a lot about our faith. Do we turn to God, crying out to Him, as the Psalmist did repeatedly? Do we run away? Do we fight? Do we turn to others, looking for man-made wisdom? Do we look within ourselves, the god-self? Do we medicate with drugs, alcohol, sex, food? Do we work or play harder? Do we turn to anything except the living God?
Seeking help, looking for answers, desiring comfort, these are all good things, if we are looking to Jesus. If we take our eyes off Jesus, like Peter when he briefly walked on water, we turn our focus to our circumstances and start drowning. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, even during the storms of life. We must do this regardless of how we are feeling. We trust God and obey. Why? Because we worship Him who sits on the throne. With Jesus all things are possible. But without Him, nothing is impossible.
Storms pass. They all do. Some are for a brief season. Some seem to last forever. But eventually they pass. Only what is done for Christ will last.
If you are currently in a crisis or helping someone in a crisis, remember to keep your eyes on Jesus. If you seek Him, He will help you endure. He will provide the ultimate comfort. His grace is sufficient.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Ps. 150:6
[Article originally printed in RSM's February 2012 Newsletter]