3 Ways to Handle Crisis in Life

Some authors simply cause me to stop and pause. I can read their writing and can’t quite move on until I have saturated myself in the truth they have communicated. Christian counselor H. Norman Wright is one of those authors for me. He writes in his book, Crisis Counseling the truth about life’s troubles…

“…the journey through life is a series of crises – some are predictable and expected and some are total surprises. Some crisis is developmental and some are situational…Being alive means that we constantly have to resolve problems. Every new situation we encounter provides the opportunity to develop new ways of using our resources to gain control.”

After reading this quote I couldn’t help but look back at how I used to handle crises in my life. In all honesty when I was in my twenty’s, a crisis would send me down to a path of total peril and depression. I would become so overwhelmed that it would make me sick! Talk about the “sky is falling!” I believed it did! My whole world would stop and the crises would become my god. I’ve learned a few things over the years. I thank God for what he has taught me. And every lesson learned came from a crisis in my life and God’s faithfulness in each one. As troubles come my way there are three things I’ve learned to do to keep me from diving into the sea of despair I once bathed in…

1.) I pray. I cry out to God, and while I’m praying, God brings to my memory his faithfulness! I pause and take time to remember that God is my refuge and my strength. He is my ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, I choose to not fear, even though my life appears to be giving way; even though the struggles I am facing seem to quake with all their surging, I am still. I station myself in the truth that God is my answer and that His power is my resource.

2.) I learn. As Wright mentions in the quote above, every new situation we encounter is an opportunity to develop new ways of using our resources to gain control. An opportunity is hardly the word we would describe when facing a crisis, but it is a chance to do something new. We can learn from every crisis; every crisis leads us to a new place of brokenness and a new experience in God’s presence. Unfortunately, we don’t learn to do this when life is easy and running smoothly. We learn this when horrific or even simple blows strike our comfortable life. These blows have the power to not only teach us, they also soften us. If we let them, crisis molds us and creates an attentive spirit to the Lord’s leading.

3.) I trust. We don’t always understand the crisis’s we face in life. Sometimes the lessons learned are revealed and some simply never make their way to our understanding. It’s in these times we must trust in the One who has allowed them in our life. We trust in His goodness not the horror of the crisis. As I said earlier, when I was young, I often let the crisis be my god. It consumed me. Then I would go into a full throttle of solving the problem in my own strength; I usually made very bad decisions when in that situation. Waiting on the Lord’s solution is the hardest. In my attempt to solve the issue I was really running from the lesson. God makes us wait, so that we pray, so that we learn and so that we trust in His ways not ours.

There is this false teaching going around that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.

Oh yes He does! Yes, He does give us a way out of temptation if we take it. But He doesn’t always provide a way out of our struggles. But He does provide a way through them.

He chooses to use them to help us.

To grow us.

To keep us firmly in the grip of His hands.

He uses every crisis to mold us into the person of power that He intends to use for His glory, and for His kingdom purposes.

When troubled waters roar and foam, when the mountains quake and bring despair your way, know that there is another river that flows more mightily; it’s filled with streams of delight – a dwelling place of the Most High God. God is within these streams. Nations rage, crisis bring their turmoil, but the Lord’s power melts them all with the sound of His voice. (Psalm 46)

I urge you to stop your fighting and your striving.

Cry out to Our Mighty Savior, Jesus; learn from Him; and totally trust Him.

In this stance, your crisis will grow smaller as your God becomes larger!


How to Forgive on Heaven’s Terms

Forgiveness involves patience and compassion for the offender.  This type of forgiveness is really only found in heaven. It’s the fabric that weaves life into the person who is unjust and unworthy of this material.  Patience waits for the changes to happen in the offender’s life. Compassion sees beyond the offense and provides a pathway of hope in the life of the wrongdoer. This type of forgiveness is unique in that it only deals with the issue at hand. It doesn’t pick up other issues and heap more offenses on top of the original. This takes great discipline and focus. Heaven’s terms of forgiveness are not of this earth. As followers of Jesus, we are to live out the prayer “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 10). We must choose to bring heaven’s forgiveness to earth. It won’t happen by chance, only by choice.

While forgiveness does have its imitation on earth, it falls short from the Master’s. While it can have the appearance of compassion and patience, it is rooted in debt and punishment; payback is the fallback. Sadly earth’s fabric of forgiveness is woven with a cost for the mercy shown. It’s short lived when the next offense surfaces.  In its short life span new offenses are heaped on the old issue. One can never truly escape the original. They only pay for the one offense with a higher measure of more offenses. This counterfeit forgiveness is an insult to the fabric of heaven. It slaps at Jesus’ very nature, character and even His plan for our life.

His way is the better way. Peter writes, “Jesus did not retaliate when He was insulted, nor threaten revenge when He suffered. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.” (2 Peter 2:23 NLT)

Sometimes we will meet an person who doesn’t deserve our forgiveness and they indeed deserve a consequence. It is in times like these that we have such a hard time showing mercy. Our minds can go wild in cases like this. We can conjure up justification for retaliation and we can even make more of the issue by adding more crimes to the misdemeanor. We cross over to a limited forgiveness that places restrictions on our mercy.

But if we are truly following Jesus we must give notice to what 2 Peter 2:23 said about heaven’s way of forgiveness. Jesus did not retaliate, nor threaten revenge. Instead He chose to entrust Himself to the hands of God not the hands of man.

He trusted in the fabric of heaven’s way to judge fairly.

Jesus was also more concerned about the people He was dying for rather than their transgressions. His mercy was evidence by keeping the issue at hand the issue. His mission was the issue. His mission was to pay the price for the unjust and unworthy so that they could be made just and worthy of salvation. His sacrifice was the greatest of forgiveness, because He chose to die to what seemed fitting, and live for what will bring ultimate justice to a person’s life. We forget that true freedom found in forgiveness is the ultimate justice!

Jesus was a solutions man. His justice involved developing a hope for the unjust, wicked and unworthy. He desired to not only forgive their debts but offer them a new life to live so that offenses were not their everyday experience. Heaven’s forgiveness softens an individual. It can make a heart pliable consequently, easier to develop. Heaven’s terms of forgiveness gives the potential to the offender to become a new person and practice a new way to exist.

Jesus did say, “I’ve come to make all things new.” And this new involved forgiveness that instituted change in person’s heart and eternity. On the other hand, earth’s forgiveness only keeps a person unchanged not just unforgiven. It holds them captive to their offenses, barred forever in their state of felony. There is no hope in this! As followers of Christ we are called to be bearers of hope not of despair.

When we forgive, what fabric do we choose to weave in a person’s life? As you can see, the outcome will make a difference in the offender. Do you really want change in the relationship or just payment? Are you developing the person who is in the wrong by Heaven’s standard of forgiveness or are you enslaving them forever to their current way of life?  Heaven’s terms of forgiveness are not easy to follow, but if we are submitting ourselves to the One who judges fairly, we could see heaven’s miracles lived out in our life.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Why is forgiveness so hard for you right now?
  2. In what ways has this post explained the reason it’s hard for you?
  3. In what ways can Jesus’s example in 1 Peter 2:23 help you?
  4. What’s your next step for today?

Overcoming the Fear of People

The fear of man reduces us to a crazy fool. But the fear of the Lord exalts us to a confident warrior.

You see, fearing man is the tactic satan uses for you to fear him instead of God. And satan has no other mission in your life except to torment you, use you, chain you and parade you as a spectacle in his circus. But the fear of the Lord gives us great confidence so that victory, power and strength is our every day existence.

There is a difference between God using us and satan using us. God’s plans are to empower us; while satan’s plans are to puncture every good God can do through us. He aims to destroy, but God aims to build.

When the fear of man creeps up into your soul, demolish it with this praise, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4). Assuredly, God will deliver. All we need to do is seek Him.

To seek the Lord is to frequent your relationship with Him in prayer, His word and worship.

  • Seek Him intentionally.
  • Seek with application.
  • Seek for His love.
  • Seek for His peace.
  • Seek for His resolve and for His strength.
  • Be specific in your seeking.

Randomly seeking the Lord may have some benefit as seeking Him is always a good thing, but seeking Him with intention produces a greater fruit in your life, especially when it comes to your fears.

My favorite way to seek the Lord besides prayer and His word is to worship. Worship is probably one of the greatest ways to scare the tactics of the devil away. I will put on my favorite worship song, close my eyes and let the perfect love of God wash completely over me, and the fear of man finds its way into the abyss. For perfect love casts out fear. The fear of God fills me with great optimism even in my most anxious days.

I want you to imagine this – picture it in your head. When you seek the Lord, His face turns and sets itself on you. He turns his head against the evil, but His face turns to those whose hearts are fully His. The wicked have no help but the righteous have all the power of the Creator on their side.

I say it again, His face sets (positions) itself on you. This is likened to Him answering our prayers. He turns to see us, to help us, and rescue us from all of our fears. To rescue us means to literally tear us away from the fears that entrap us. The enemy is still there but you are in the embrace of great power and strength. Literally, as you are snatched from your fears, the dust of those fears are smacked in the devil’s ugly face.

Fear is real, but so is great assurance. Satan is real, but so is Jesus! The difference, satan is a created being with limited power, but Jesus is the Creator with all the power. He even has power over satan. Therefore, if you want to be on top of the fears in your life, seek the One with all the power and let the created one with limited power find himself in his proper place – beneath the Lord and even beneath you. And remember this, While, “many troubles come to the one who is righteous, the Lord delivers him from them all.” (Psalm 34:19). Including our many fears!