Handling The Crisis
A crisis is an opportunity hidden in it and God desires His children to take the higher path of faith and then confidently move forward to break down the opposing wall of darkness and despair, to grab His hand to glory.

Handling The Crisis

         After creating Adam and Eve, God first blessed them and only then did He tell them to ‘multiply, dominate the earth and subdue it’. In like manner Moses was shown the power, endowed by God, in his staff before sending him to Egypt to lead his people, the Israelites, from their slavery. Lord Jesus also equipped His disciples with authority over the forces of darkness and the devil before sending them on their mission. But despite all this power and authority many believers still remain stuck in sin and under the control of evil without ever displaying and using this power in them.

            Why do we fail to use the given authority? After being with the disciples through various visits, Lord Jesus, just before finally ascending into heaven, warned the disciples to remain in Jerusalem to receive power of the Holy Spirit and then only move out to make disciples of others (Acts 1:8). The Greek word ‘dunamai’, that is translated as power, is the root word for ‘dynamo, dynamic etc’ implying continuous power regeneration capacity. This word means s ‘contained ability to perform some action, to be equipped to, to have the opportunity or ability’ to perform the assigned tasks. It is about ability and possibility but not force or might which is the Greek word ‘energeo’. This power that the Lord mentioned is the ability as an identifying quality like ‘you are what you can’. The Holy Spirit descended on all those gathered in the upper room in prayer equally, for ‘God shows no partiality’ (Acts 10:34).

         Then why is it that some people are known to perform great miracles and are very effective preachers of the Word while others struggle? The reason for this is very clear, for God says, ‘I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings’ (Jeremiah 17:10).  Two men steeped forward to follow Lord Jesus but one wanted to go and bury his father first, meaning to care for him till his death while the second wanted to bid farewell to his people first (Luke 9:57-62). Lord Jesus then declared that ‘no one, having put his hand to the plow , and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’. Following Him is to carry the cross and it is one way to death and eternal life and one cannot keep on exploring other options. He then holds our hand to lead us safely through every situation and be victorious.

           The Scripture describes our dilemmas clearly. Noah is introduced in a very specific way, ‘These are the generations of Noah, Noah was a just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God’ (Genesis 6:9). His name is mentioned three times in one verse which could have been written as ‘These are the generations of Noah, who was a righteous man, perfect I his generations. He walked with God’. Midrash, the Jewish book of interpretation of Scripture for both theological and practical purposes, says about this text, that there are not one but three Noah’s mentioned here. There is one Noah before the flood, one during the flood and another after the flood. Noah and his family were the only people who lived in completely three different worlds; one with a settled and predictable life; second, the entire life destroyed by the flood and the third, where the world was rebuilt and civilized after the flood. Each situation demanded a different set of skills and resources.

         Before the flood was routine; during the flood resilience and alertness was required and to be flexible and alert for any situation in a crammed space. After such devastation and loss of all that was known, Noah had to learn to love, smile and show kindness to others while surviving successfully. Noah’s effort of survival led to his becoming a farmer, planting a vineyard and drinking the wine to become uncovered (Genesis 9:20-21). Did he need to dull the pain of all that destruction and the weight of his responsibility? Most of us experience life in three worlds, where our life begins in a secure family with set patterns. Suddenly a tragic happening changes all that through death or separation of a parent or partner, some financial decision gone wrong, causing great turmoil. All we look for is an Ark to run to and hide in. Then we have to reinvent ourselves and start afresh in life to create a new life.

        People, who have been trapped in a collapsed building after an earthquake and rescued after a few days, need reorientation after the loss of close and loved ones. Many simply collapse and give up, taking to drink and despair but others like the Jewish survivors of second world war concentration camps, found and gave love to others to start afresh from great tragedy. God told Noah, ‘Go out of the ark’ with all the animals, birds and beasts ‘so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth (Genesis 8:16-17). Noah, like us was to look up even during rain, and see the rainbow and realize that the sun is always shining above the clouds. At every moment a believer reveals the infinite life giving light and love of God to others in their clouds to show them sunlight and start of a new day and life. Look up and not on the rain or your situation for the Lord of lords and our eternal King is knocking at the door to open new doors to success and joy by being with us to help us in every possible way (Revelation 3:20).

           Healing from snake bite by looking at the snake of bronze – After coming out of Egypt, the Israelites were moved along a longer route by way of the Red Sea and people complained about Manna from heaven, which was supposed to taste the way the person eating it perceived (Numbers 21:4-9).  Hearing their murmuring, ‘The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people’ and many died. Then they repented of their sin and Moses was commanded by the LORD to place a bronze fiery serpent on a pole so that anyone bitten by a snake would be saved by looking at that.  Every situation of life can be seen from two perspectives, one earthly and the other Divine, appreciating its true nature. The challenges, when seen from a higher spiritual place, remain the same but the seed for rebirth is then seen and despair is removed. The snake below kills but the snake above helps me see my faults, repent, seek forgiveness from the Lord and helps in growth  through a new clarity of purpose. The Israelites could then appreciate the longer route providing safety while developing their inner strength to come out of slave mentality. The Manna also then became a blessing.

          It is not about suppressing the pain and ignoring the turmoil but to train to look upward and find the answers within the very questions. Job offered burnt offerings to the LORD saying, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts’ during their feasts (Job 1:5). Satan challenged his righteousness and after losing everything Job could find the answer in the situation. He could then say to the LORD God, ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You’ (Job 42:2). When without a job, look up for your search may be in the wrong place and God may want you to be a teacher and you may be trying to be a designer. Being under debt, seen from a higher plane would reveal your nature to live beyond means and not due to lack of means. The source of pain then becomes the remedy to heal. Look up from your crisis towards God, for He gives not only the guidance but also strength to understand and come out of the crisis.

         The right way to salvation from crisis- There are basic three reasons for any affliction in our lives. First, when we cross the God laid down boundary of behavior, we get entangled in the thorn-bush traps laid by the devil all around us. On our own we can never come out of that. Second, When God decides to test our faith to strengthen us; third, is when God puts us through fire to purify and prepare us for some bigger role in life. In all cases God is always in control and we have to submit to His control to come out. Esau was perceived to be the heir of Abraham’s blessing of nations being blessed through his father Isaac, but Rebekah, his mother, is supposed to have received this revelation for Jacob. With her help Jacob, whose name means the one who ‘supplants or overreaches’, pretending to be Esau, his elder brother, received the blessing of the firstborn from Isaac, his father, who was then blind. On learning this Esau cried out to Isaac, ‘Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing’ (Genesis 27:36&41).  Esau then thought of his father’s death in near future and decided, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob’.

          Jacob fled to his mother’s family and married Leah and Rachel, the daughters of Laban, his uncle, had children and finally decided to return to his father’s house after twenty years. But he was troubled by the threat from Esau and sent his wives, children and flocks ahead of him in two groups with gifts for Esau. Jacob was alone at night ‘and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day’ (Genesis 32:24-28). This mysterious Man could not prevail against Jacob and put the socket of his hip out of joint, causing him to limp all his life. Yet despite this night long struggle and pain of injury, Jacob said to Him, ‘I will not let You go unless You bless me’. Someone who tries to destroy you and your seeking his blessings seems strange. But Jacob taught us in this to develop this unique quality to face a crisis boldly and say, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me’This is to recognize its purpose and declare to the problem, ‘I know that you are sent or permitted by God in my life to raise me to a higher level on the mountain to make me stronger, wiser and more blessed’.

          Lord Jesus at the Last Supper with His disciples told them about His body ‘which is given for you’ and Hid blood ‘which is shed for you’ (Luke 22:19-20). He was fully aware what awaited Him yet His prayer in the Gethsemane Park was ‘not My will but Yours, be done’. The devil was attacking Him with thoughts of separation from God, the Father, after death and our Lord surrendered Himself completely to the Divine will of the Father to defeat the devil’s purpose.

           David and his men, while living in Ziklag, an area of the Philistine king Achish, joined the Philistines to battle against King Saul and his forces. The Philistines doubted his commitment towards them and sent them back from the battlefield. On reaching Ziklag they found their camp destroyed by fire and their wives, children all possessions taken by the Amalekites. The people were in great distress and even ‘spoke of stoning him’ (David) (1 Samuel 30:6-8). In this hour of great turmoil in his life, David sought the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?’ God’s answer was absolutely clear, ‘Pursue for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all’. David did so, was victorious and recovered not only all their wives and children but also ‘great spoil which they (the Amalekites) had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah’ .

         God’s promise is ‘I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron’ (Isaiah 45:2). God is willing and ready but He will do this only if we let Him, by submitting to His will and control. That is the only way that His power can work for us, failing which we keep on fighting with our own strength and will surely lose. It is not that God is, in any way, partial to His children but to fully experience His love and honor for us is only possible when we love and revere Him. In this way our capability to live in His blessings and be filled with His power increases. Lord Jesus found the answer to the threat of separation from God, for taking on Himself the sins of the world, by surrendering completely to God.

           After being set free from the slavery of Egypt, the Israelites were chased by the Pharaoh’s army. Moses and his people found the Red Sea in front, mountains on both sides and the Egyptian army at the back. When Moses sought the help of the LORD, the LORD said to him, ‘Why do you cry out to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea’ (Exodus 14:15-16). Like Moses had the power with him to handle the crisis, each believer is also equipped by the indwelling Holy Spirit to overcome the situation. Apostle Paul was clear that the Holy Spirit that ‘raised (Lord) Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you’ (Romans 8:11).

          God has blessed and set us free but if we remain unaware and ignorant of this power in us and keep crying out to God instead, to come and help, He cannot be blamed for that. God will never let us face any trial that is beyond the capacity given by Him and He also provides a way of escape beforehand. But we in our distress tend to see the situation bigger than the God who loves us and remain stuck. The solution is in the problem itself and we find that by turning to God. The lion is not taught to live as king of the forest, he develops this attitude from younger days only. When are we going to start teaching our children about the state of our blessedness to equip and train them to live as such?

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