August 10, 2022
Reflections – Five Suggestions for Facing a Devastating Crisis
In this Reflection, I present five suggestions for facing a devastating crisis. Sooner or later, each of us will be called on to care for someone in a time of unparalleled grief. A daughter is tragically killed in an automobile accident. A friend’s pet dog is diagnosed with cancer. Hurricanes and tornadoes strike unexpectedly. When loss and crisis knock at your door, here are five suggestions that can help.
Acknowledge the emotion
People feel all sorts of emotions when they face a crisis. Fear, anger, worry, resentment, helplessness, and grief are all normal. One of the best first steps is to acknowledge these emotions before God. God doesn’t expect us to act happy when we’re grieving.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4, NKJV). That means it’s OK, to be honest about our grief. “O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8, NLT) God wants to comfort us in tragedy.
Accept help from others
Isolation is seldom a healthy response. We all need the support, encouragement, and presence of others, particularly in the aftermath of tragedy. Sometimes that help comes in the simple form of a silent presence. When we carry one another’s burdens, we obey the Law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Choose not to be bitter
We all have the power to eventually decide how tragedy affects us. If we choose bitterness, then we’ll only end up hurting ourselves. It is hard to be happy and bitter at the same time!
There is no correlation in life between our experiences and our happiness. Some people go through shocking experiences and are able to maintain a happy, positive attitude, simply because they choose to do so. We are usually as happy as we choose to be.
Refocus on what is of real value in our lives
A crisis helps us clarify our values by spotlighting what really matters and what really doesn’t matter. Jesus said, “Life is not measured by how much one owns. …” (Luke 12:15, NCV)
What he’s saying is this: Don’t confuse your net worth with your self-worth. Don’t confuse your possessions with your purpose in life. A man’s life does not consist of what he possesses. A tragedy teaches us that the greatest things in the world aren’t things; what matters are relationships.
Rely on Christ
The Apostle Paul said, “I have learned the secret of being happy at any time in everything that happens; I can do all things through Christ because he gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11,13; NCV)
A crisis creates a moment in life when we can shift our dependence to something that can never be taken from us. Through it, God can teach us that we may lose our homes, our careers, our marriages, or our health, but we will never, ever lose our relationship with God. He promised to never leave us or forsake us — and that’s an eternal security we can build our lives on.
“We were really crushed and overwhelmed, and feared we would never live through it … we saw how powerless we were to help ourselves; but that was good, for then we put everything into the hands of God, who alone could save us … And he did help us and save us … and we expect him to do it again and again.” (2 Corinthians 1:9-10, TLB)
These five suggestions may not apply in every situation since crises are very unique to the individual and the situation. I still hope you are blessed by these suggestions.
Blessings and peace,
Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives.
Read more Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner
Acknowledgment: This Reflection has been edited by the Chaplain from Rick Warren’s Toolbox, a weekly newsletter, January 7, 2005. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Chaplain or any organization he may be associated with.