It sometimes seems as if there is a new crisis every day. In recent weeks we’ve had the Orlando Pulse shooting deaths; the attack on the Istanbul airport; the hundred year flood in West Virginia and fires raging in California resulting in loss of life and property. Brexit has lead to many questions about the future of the United Kingdom as well as impacts on the European Union and world financial markets. Our politicians seem to be engaged in provocative and outlandish behavior instead of talking about proposed solutions to the problems our country is facing.
In addition to the above we may all be (or know people who are) facing personal crises—job loss, business reversals, serious illness, death of a family member, or military deployment of the breadwinner.
Our world is full of chaos and uncertainty and it may be difficult to remember that God is with us in every crisis—whether it is a personal crisis or a global crisis.
There are several things we can do to prepare for a crisis. The first is to prepare spiritually. Think about some crisis stories in the Bible. In a few hours, Job lost everything—his children, his wife, all of his financial and material resources, even his health and he said: “The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the Lord.” Mary was an unwed teenager who had to tell her betrothed that she was pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Yet she trusted God enough to say to the angel “May it be done unto me according to thy word.”
It would have been easy for each of them to feel afraid and abandoned by God, yet in each case, their first reaction was to turn to God in total trust and God used their crisis for ultimate good.
In a stressful situation when we are praying for help, we expect God to resolve things in our way, in our time, exactly the way we want it to be resolved. This sets us up for disappointment and frustration, as God does not work according to our demands. It is important for us to trust God and believe in his divine providence without giving him deadlines or directions when we are facing a crisis.
The second step is to prepare yourself financially. So many times, there is a financial impact when a crisis hits—usually through decreased income or increased expenses. If your finances are in good order, and you are prepared to adjust to changing financial circumstances, the crisis can be a little less stressful.
We recommend that everyone develop a crisis budget. Analyze your current budget and cut your expenses by a percentage—like 40 or 50 percent. Or, think about the most likely crisis you will face and cut your budget to meet that situation. For example, if you or your spouse were to lose your job, how would you cut your spending to stay in line with your decreased income? Or, taking a global approach, what would happen to you if there was a world wide financial crisis and the value of the dollar plummeted?
Planning before the crisis occurs makes it easier to make objective decisions, not decisions based on emotion. A crisis plan helps you have a sense of peace that you are ready to face whatever comes.
The third step is to have a support structure so you don’t go through a crisis alone. Seek advice from godly people who have been in the same or similar circumstances, or who want to prepare for a crisis. They can be a great source of blessing and encouragement to you and you to them. It is all about being the body of Christ for each other.
The fourth step is to be a good citizen by keeping up to date with current events. Many of the voters in the UK are regretting the “leave” outcome of their election and their role in supporting it. There are comments all over social media about a re-vote and people regretting the way they voted. Unfortunately, they did not think through the entire voting process enough to understand the how their one little vote impacted the outcome of the election. Nor did they know the implications of a “leave vote,” which they are now experiencing.
As citizens of the United States, we are politically free, and that freedom comes with responsibility. We need to know the candidates, what they stand for what they are opposed to and how our vote can impact the election results.
It does not matter if you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, whether you agree with our present government or are adamantly opposed to it, we all need to be conscious informed citizens. And above all, we need to pray for our country and those who serve us as leaders whether we like them or not.
Romans 13:1-2 states “Obey the rulers who have authority over you. Only God can give authority to anyone, and he puts these rulers in their places of power.”
Our country remains free due to the diligence and sacrifice of those original founders. This week we pray that you will spend some time reflecting on the gift of living in a free country, yet realize that you are a pilgrim on earth and really a citizen of heaven. No crisis that we face on earth is everlasting and we are only on this earth for a short period of time.
As Sirach advises, “The sum of a man’s days is great if it reaches a hundred years: Like a drop of sea water, like a grain of sand, so are these few years among the days of eternity.” (Sirach 18:7-8)