In many areas of our lives, we are regularly reminded of the possibility of a crisis. From early childhood, we are trained to know what we should do in an emergency. Even small children today know they can call 911 for help. In the public schools, one of the first areas of training is the fire drill — how to behave in an orderly way when there is an emergency. God’s people know the Lord is a very present help in the time of trouble, yet sometimes, when a crisis strikes, some of the most basic truths are forgotten in the panic of the moment. This is a message to remind you of some fundamental truths that you need to remember in the time of crisis.
That is where you need to start. If you are going to think right, you have to remember God is still on the throne. When you are in trouble and you are feeling pain, loss, hurt, and frustration, it is easy to forget God still rules. Psalm 115:3 says, “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” Habakkuk 2:20: “the Lord is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.” How reassuring to be reminded God is sovereign! Our lives may be in chaos and our circumstances appear to be unbearable; but remember, God has not forgotten about you, and He is at work. You may not SEE that He is at work and you may not understand the purpose of what He is doing, but He is working. There is nothing that can give greater hope or greater stability in the time of crisis than to remember God is on the throne and He is reigning.
That is a fact some people find very difficult to accept. Some want to control everything and everybody around them. When we encounter a situation we cannot control, a problem that cannot be fixed today, a situation which may never be changed, it is difficult to come to grips with the fact that this is something I cannot control. Somebody made a decision; it was the wrong thing. A person sinned against God and their sin touched your life, and you could not control it. You have suffered because of their action or their failure and, indeed, it hurts. Trying to control a situation that cannot be controlled—or to change a situation that cannot be changed—only adds to one’s frustration. Keep in mind: There are circumstances and there are people I cannot control. It is a comfort, though, to know there is no set of circumstances or no human being outside of the control of our sovereign God.
I well understand the initial reaction to that thought is negative. “How,” someone may ask, “can this trial be for my benefit when I have lost my job, my home, perhaps even family members?” Now understand what I am saying. I am not saying that sickness is good, that storms and floods are good, that heartache and losses are good. But I am saying what God may teach us in the midst of deep trials is something beneficial. James tells us there are benefits to be derived from our trials: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). He certainly is not saying you are to rejoice because you hurt or that you rejoice because you have suffered great loss; but you rejoice because, even in the midst of this difficulty, God is at work. He is teaching you so that you reach a new level of spiritual maturity, lacking nothing. In fact, we are told to let patience have her perfect work. Patience, or endurance, helps us learn how to keep on track. Rather than always looking for the escape hatch, “How am I going to get out of this trial?” you may need to exercise great patience in working through the trial. By depending on the grace of God to sustain you, and looking joyfully to that time in which greater fruit will be borne in your life, you may be a testimony to the praise of the Savior’s name. That brings us to the fourth point of consideration:
The thinking prevalent in our day is that my greatest concern must be for my immediate deliverance from all of my sufferings and difficulties, and I will gladly take whatever remedy is prescribed as long as it makes life easier. However, our greatest concern in the time of trouble and crisis must be to honor God. That means we must do the right thing no matter what anybody else does. That means if people have been unkind to us or treated us unfairly, or if, indeed, we are perplexed by the unfolding of God’s providences, we still want to conduct ourselves in such a way that, both in our spirit and in our actions, we honor God. In the time of great crisis, Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God and die. Although Job went through some very difficult days, he never gave up on God. He said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). We see that in all of this God was pleased with his attitude. He acknowledged that the Lord had given and the Lord had taken away; he worshipped and blessed the name of God even in his greatest suffering. It is easy to take the pragmatic approach so popular in our day, but God’s word provides our counsel. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Colossians 3:17). If then, you are trying to cope with a severe loss or trying to repair your marriage, or trying to resolve any other great trouble in your life, it must be done for the glory of God. In the Book of Philemon, Paul encouraged his friend to do the right thing in forgiving and taking back the runaway slave, Onesimus. What does Paul do? He shows Philemon that this is an opportunity for “the good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” to be manifested (Philemon 6). Essentially, he said, “This is a great day for you to demonstrate to other people what true Christianity is.” Think about that in the day of crisis. “This crisis is an opportunity. I want to conduct myself as a Christian ought to conduct himself. I want to be found praising Jesus Christ in this time of great trouble. Though it appears to be tragic, I can trust Him. I can talk about Him as my hope and my help, or I can conduct myself in such a way as to dishonor His name. What is it going to be? Am I going to honor Him?” That ought to be our uppermost concern.
The psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray” (Psalm 119:67). But when afflictions came, he found the Word to be a light unto his path. God’s word gives us the information we so desperately need to make right decisions about every part of life. Where are you going to go for the counsel you need? It is popularly believed by multitudes today, even among professing Christians, that the wisdom of the world is the ultimate solution in dealing with the crises of life. We must never forget the Scriptures are complete. God has not left anything out that His people need. The Lord was not unmindful of the complexity of life in this modern day when He moved men to write the Scriptures. While every potential problem and its solution is not described in detail, the principles necessary are all there and can be applied through prayerful study. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Word is complete; nothing is left out, and nothing is to be added.
That is easy to forget. When bad news comes, when your heart pounds and your knees turn to water, you may say, “I don’t know how I am going to get through this. I just can’t take it; it’s unbearable.” It seems that one thing after another goes wrong, and you begin to question, “Does God really care? Does God really love me? Am I one of His children? If God loves me and I am His, why am I experiencing all these difficulties?” At that moment, you can lose sight of the fact that He is the God of all grace; and if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, He loves you and He cares about you. Remember that He says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God is the God of all grace. We may have brought some of our problems upon ourselves; but by grace He will forgive us when we confess our sins. Consequences may have to be endured, but through His grace, we can go on. Enemies may treat us unkindly or friends may fail us, but we must turn to the God of all grace for our comfort and help.
Six things to remember in the time of crisis. When emergencies come, these are easy to forget. Let us remember that when these truths are applied, they will draw us near to God. Our help and our hope is in Him and He cares. He loves us and we want His name to be honored. One of the greatest opportunities a Christian has to bear witness of his faith in Christ, is at the time of crisis. A serious illness, the loss of a loved one, a business failure or some other tragic circumstance or natural disaster may reduce others to complete despair. But the child of God who recalls these important biblical principles will stand firm and be able to say with Jeremiah, “therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.” May we conduct ourselves as Christians should that others may see His work in us. Condensed from a message by this title published in 1997. Recommended resource: Six Things to Remember In the Time of Crisis booklet
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