If you are in a crisis of any kind right now, God has brought you to a divinely orchestrated crossroads. Before you are two paths. The higher path calls you to renewed trust and transformation. The lower one allures you to hide in the cocooned space of comfort, complacency, and self-protection.
In His goodness, God sovereignly superintends all crises, desiring to use them for good (Romans 8:28). He is not absent in our consternation, pain, and uncertainty. Rather than obsess with why the crisis happened, we are wise to inquire of the Lord as to what we are supposed to learn and how we can truly grow when it is all said and done.
Many notable politicians and business leaders have referenced the Chinese word for “crisis” as a combination of two characters representing “danger” and “opportunity.” While this is actually a slight mistranslation of the Chinese language, a more exact meaning of the Chinese word is “a point where things happen, change.”1 One Chinese proverb says “a crisis is an opportunity riding a dangerous wind.” The principle remains that any crisis, while often precarious, presents an invitation to necessary and hopeful growth.
Prayer is truly our resource for finding comfort and relief in anxious times (see Phil. 4:6–7). Throughout the Bible, people in trouble cried out to the Lord for assurance, relief, and direction. We learn to pray with renewed dependence, even desperation, in a season of crisis. We also have the opportunity to learn to pray beyond the crisis in a new lifestyle of intimacy with the Lord that strengthens us with daily grace and resets our hearts toward His purpose for our lives on this earth.
YOUR CRISIS ALWAYS CLARIFIES
On the one hand, a crisis helps to shape us into what we can become, but crisis also serves us in revealing what we, in reality, already are. Our instinctive reactions to a crisis often pull back the covers on our concealed insecurities, doubts, and vulnerable places in our faith. I believe that, while the challenges of life develop character, the crises of life define it.
In times like these we may need to reset our hearts to seek God in the storm. We must readjust our passions toward His purposes. We must recommit ourselves to His gospel plans in our seasons of deep uncertainty. As we do, we can trust that He will reshape us into more faithful and fruitful Christ-followers on the other side of any crisis.
Crisis forces us out of the comfort zone into the clarification zone, out of lethargy to a new opportunity for learning. We cannot coast during a crisis. We are wise to recommit to the rhythms that ultimately stabilize and satisfy.
YOUR SPECIFIC CRISIS BRINGS SPECIFIC GRACE
Perhaps God is using your current crisis to get you on your knees. For certain, He wants to use this crisis to keep you on your knees with an accelerated hunger for Him. It’s only through this longing and seeking for God, in the midst of our pain, that we can truly experience the tailor made grace that He has for each of us.
Crisis forces us out of the comfort zone into the clarification zone, out of lethargy to a new opportunity for learning.
This refining and renewing grace of our Lord can help dads step up to lead their families. Moms can tune in more intentionally to the unique needs of their children. Pastors can find new discernment to distinguish between traditional rituals and life-changing realities.
If we can all join together for such a time as this, with a resolve to serve faithfully as agents of true renewal —in the home, church, workplace, and neighborhood— the fruit of our united commitment could very well be world-changing.
YOUR CRISIS REQUIRES A CHOICE
We cannot just set up camp at the crossroads presented to us. We can decide to fully cooperate with the redeeming purposes of God so that we might be renewed. Conversely, we can choose to surrender to the pressures of the surrounding circumstances and remain in a rut of commonplace living. Yes, it is a shame to waste a crisis—especially for believers who, by God’s grace, are fully enabled to come forth as gold after the nonessentials have been burned away by the fiery trial.
Join me as we recommit to that which God’s people have always been called to do in a crisis. For the responsive, the moment can become a life-changing reset that establishes a lasting life trajectory of fulfillment and fruitfulness. For the non-responsive, this crossroads may simply result in a temporary reprieve and gradual return to status quo after the pressure has eased.
We are familiar with the choice the Lord offered the Jewish people in view of a possible future crisis:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:13–14)
Yes, let us choose well. Let us pray biblically, passionately, and enduringly. Let us live victoriously long after the crisis has passed—because another one might just be looming around the corner. And, by God’s grace, when it comes we will be living in strong, vital renewal.
- Xinhua Zidian (in Chinese) (10th revised, large-print ed.). Beijing: Commercial Press. 2004. p. 205. Derivation 1. an event that has a confidential nature which can lead to success or failure. Derivation 2. chance (opportunity), good timing.
This article originally appeared here.