God is in Your Crisis

God is in Your Crisis

We might say to a group of people, “God is in your crisis.” But it is entirely different to look into the eyes of a hurting believer and say, “God is in your crisis.” This morning, as I read a commentary on the book of Isaiah, those words, “God is in your crisis,” popped off the page to me. I underlined them…and then I chewed on them as I drove to work. And God rephrased them, He re-emphasized them, “God is in YOUR crisis.”

I had been going through a months-long crisis of time management. I had been required to spend way more time at work than I wanted, I was attending more committee meetings at church and I was going through the final proofs of a book project while trying to write another one. The lawn cried for attention and getting ready for the upcoming Northern Michigan winter seemed important. I had way more to do, and way more stress, than I wanted. The day before I read those words I told my wife, “I think I have figured out why I am…” I was struggling for the words to finish my thought and she finished it for me, “…grumpy?” (Note: No one likes spouses who see you better than you see yourself.)

I saw no end to my crisis. I was looking to slow down at work, not speed up. I was looking for less stress, not more. I was looking for more time to write, not less. And for the next few years I knew there was nothing that was going to change, at least not drastically. “God is in YOUR crisis, Karl.” I know that God does not allow times of crisis for no reason; what was I to learn?

The same morning, as I was scrolling down through my Facebook feed, I stopped as I saw the post of a man who used to attend our church. He had moved to another state but social media allowed us to stay in touch by reading each other’s posts; that was the extent of our contact. But today it was different. He was reporting that his wife had just been diagnosed with “young onset Alzheimer’s.” How does someone survive such a diagnosis? How do you regain your breath as you try to gasp in air after being sucker-punched? What does the future hold? What will my life be like? Why me? And the words ring just as true for Kevin, “God is in YOUR crisis, Kevin.”

Satan, the Roaring Lion of I Peter 5, comes before the Lord one day, checking in with God as he must. God knows Satan’s desire to “seek whom he may devour” and He asks, “Have you considered my servants, Karl and Kevin?” And Satan reminds God of the hedge He had placed around us. And God says, “You can touch them but you can only go this far.” I don’t want Satan to go ‘this far.’ I don’t think Kevin does either. I don’t want the crisis. Many days I don’t even want the lesson the crisis is intended to teach.

But God is patient…and He is persistent…and He is good.

And the purpose of the crisis is the lesson. And the purpose of the lesson is my growth in faith. And faith in God is never disappointed (Romans 5:1-5).

“But I have learned that lesson,” I cry out to God. And He says, “I guess not, or we wouldn’t be back here now. I have something new for you, and better for you, and bigger. You will learn again that I am enough for whatever you face.”

God, who cannot lie, makes a promise that He will work ALL things together for good for His people. “Even for Karl’s mini-crisis?” Yes. “Even for Kevin’s major, life-changing, life-threatening, crisis?” Yes, ALL things.

And the God who loves me, more than I love myself, who knew me in the womb, who has numbered the hairs on my head, who knows the length of my days and who chose me before the foundations of the world were laid, knows that this crisis, this new one, this one that I just do NOT want to face, has an eternal purpose—in my life and in the lives of others. So I agree to face it reluctantly, but expectantly, knowing that He has a good and perfect purpose in my life. He is good…all of the time. Even when my faith is small.

Note: Since the writing of this, Kevin and his wife lived through years of her dementia, him ever by her side, doing whatever he could to ease her days and honor the vows he made before the Lord. “In sickness or in health.” No one, standing at the altar while the minister mouths those words ever imagines dementia might find its mark in their spouse, but it did for Kevin. And his grief moved from that of watching the love of his life become as a little child to the grief of her final breath and of his living alone. And is God big enough for this new crisis that Kevin faces? Absolutely. He has promised He is, now, and forever more.

Originally posted on Facebook, December 18, 2016

Romans 5:1-5 KJV Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.