Thursday, March 19, 2020

How to Respond to a Crisis

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed a change in me. At first, as I thought about the situation with the coronavirus, I didn't think it would affect me very much. Even when we were all told to limit contact with others, I wasn't fazed much. I already have tendencies toward being a hermit. However, as things progressed, my thinking has changed. Actually, how I'm feeling about things has changed. I was noticing that something was feeling wrong. And as I reflected on that I decided that it wasn't anxiety (worry, fear), but it was a feeling of being unsettled. I realized that I was feeling unsettled because we are in the midst of a very large change. Life for us as a society is being altered in some very significant ways. Once we are given the 'all clear' and the virus is no longer the problem that it currently is - at least for now - life will not go back to the way that it was. We will all be faced with some very large differences.

So, how can we, as Christians, respond to the prospect of having to face these changes? Here are my thoughts.

1. Submission. An essential element of being a disciple of Jesus is the heart attitude of submission to the Father. A large part of that is captured by what Mary said to Gabriel. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1.38) We are to submit to whatever it is that our God calls us to be or to do. We are His servants. He calls the shots. This is critical. For one thing, this is what it means to be a creature.  He is God, and we are not. This is also critical for our own sake. How else will we be able to live well if not by submitting to our Father? But this is also critical for the sake of those who are watching us. Submission honors our God, leads us into a greater experience of life and provides the kind of evangelistic message that is so desperately needed these days.

2. Trust. Another essential element of being a disciple of Jesus is the heart attitude of trust. We can trust our Father. We can trust Him to do what is good and right. And He will do that for the sake of His own glory. That is always first. But we also know that what He does will also result in great blessings for us. We will enjoy some of those blessings now, in this life, and others later, in the life to come. We know that can trust Him because He has assured us of His loving care for us. He has made too many promises about this for us to miss it. We can trust Him also because He has proven Himself to us in other situations. We have experienced His loving care in the past. So, we know that we will experience it in the future.

3. Prayer. Sadly, we are not as submissive as we have been called to be. And we are not as trusting to the extent that we have been called to be. So, we need to come to the Father, first confessing our failures, our sins, asking for His forgiveness. And then, we need to come to the Father asking for the ability to do better at submission and trust. He will grant our requests. And it will show in how we respond to the changes that are coming, especially since we aren't quite sure what they will be. This is a situation where we can be tempted to fear. But this is also a situation filled with opportunities for the spread of the Gospel. Let's pray for ourselves and each other when it comes to these things.