The unknown can cause you to be more fearful. Trying to imagine your life after the crisis has hit is almost impossible. For many of us, we never expected the crisis. Maybe this describes you, too. One day your life was as normal as ever and then suddenly everything you have known changes and you feel completely misplaced. You have been forced to enter into a life you do not know and cannot begin to comprehend. You find yourself staring in the mirror and you realize you don’t totally recognize the person staring back. The deep sadness in your eyes. The tired, worn-out complexion. The downward curve of your mouth. This person bears little resemblance to the person who at one time had bright eyes, a warm complexion, and a contagious smile. I wish I could tell you exactly what your life will be like now that the harsh blows of your crisis have hit and destroyed. The mystery of a crisis is that it is different for each of us. Maybe a more appropriate perspective is to understand that each crisis is specifically designed for the person in the crisis. When we come to that place where we accept and understand that our crisis can be used for a purpose, we can begin to see how the crisis can transform us.
God is sovereign over the storm.
Colossians 1:16–18 reflects the truth that will bring us into right perspective of who we are in light of an omnipotent God. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (ESV). Even though you might be in the most excruciating pain the soul can endure or body can withstand, this truth remains. God is supreme over your crisis. He has authority over your pain. He holds all things, including you and your crisis.
The same God who is present in your crisis is already in the future of your crisis. Time cannot constrain the One who created it and rules it. Does this mean that God creates havoc? No. He is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). I think when we are being consumed by the turmoil and unrest that comes with any crisis we become focused on wanting God to change our circumstance and give us relief. However, the question that needs to be asked is: If nothing changes or gets better, will you continue to trust the sovereignty of the indescribable God? First Peter 2:21 presents this kind of trust: “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (ESV). What are we called to? We are called to suffer with patience and follow the example of Christ. I want to encourage you as I was once encouraged. Don’t be so focused on trying to figure out what your life will be like once the crisis settles, but rather focus on how your heart will be changed and affected. The temptation is to get ahead and try to make your life fit what you’re going through. But living each day at a time and seeking wisdom for how your life should reflect God’s purpose will give you deeper perspective and a greater trust in him. I spent the beginning months of my own crisis trying to see the other side and picture what my life would be like. I never could see it. If you and I stood on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, we would never expect to see the other side. Before us would be a vast ocean, and we can only see so far. We would only ever see the other side by traveling there in a boat or plane. What I had to believe in those early months was that if God walked with me to the storm, then he would also be with me through the storm. The only way to the other side was through it. When you make the choice to go through the storm then your life can reflect God’s purpose for you in and after the crisis. You will know the Lord in a way that only can be seen during the darkest and scariest times.
God will change the heart. I hope that your heart will become more tender, compassionate, loving, sensitive, strong, desirous of God’s ways and timing, and eager for what he has planned for you. It is easy—much too easy—for the heart to be affected by a crisis and turn away from God, becoming bitter, angry, stuck, blame-casting, unforgiving, resistant to grace, and demanding of answers. The great challenge in the beginning of your crisis is to worship the One who has all authority while still feeling the weight of the grief and shock of what has changed your life as you know it. Worshipping with a heavy heart can almost seem pointless. We like to enjoy worship with a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude and when it overflows with pain and grief it is a much different experience. Much like when the sun shines at the same time the rain is falling. You find you want both and may need both. When sun and rain come together, you simply wonder how that can be. Worship while in crisis mode is the same. You have both of the things that will change you: the thing has already changed life this side of Heaven, and the thing that will continue to change you for eternity and bring peace during the trials this side of heaven.The very nature of a crisis demands quick response to what can and cannot be salvaged. You realized quickly that the crisis changes things whether or not you are ready for it. Then there comes a day when you dare ask yourself: “How do I rebuild and who will help me?” It can be extremely difficult to see your way through the crisis. Like driving in thick fog, all you can do is turn your lights on, grip the steering wheel, and move through it ever so slowly.All the while you hope nothing gets in your way, but you do know that at some point the fog will lift. So many days are like that thick fog. You are weary. You just want to see something that will let you know it is almost over. It doesn’t take much to give you the slightest bit of hope and it doesn’t take much to leave you feeling defeated. Fragile is the only way to describe your heart.
Your heart is fragile. His strength is sure.