Just when you think things cannot get any worse…surprise! Let’s have a winter storm that sweeps through most of the United States, stopping everyone and everything in their tracks. As a Southerner who loves her tender Tennessee winters, I’m not a fan of ice and cold, but in my situation, it just meant a week off work and the ability to work on some writing projects. I had heat, food, and water, so I just hunkered down.
Not so for countless others, who lost electricity and went without water for days. Businesses, already suffering from the pandemic, suffered even further. Hospitals and nursing facilities struggled to provide care. First responders, overextended yet again, were relied upon to help those in need.
Though I’ve heard the statement during this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic, “for every crisis there’s an opportunity,” I prefer this one:
“For every crisis there is Christ.”
This was not said by a pundit or politician, but written on the back of an envelope by a woman named Ophelia Hughes. After her death at age 90, he daughter found it tucked inside a kitchen cabinet. Jan Winebrenner, in her book Intimate Faith: A Woman’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines, tells us “at the time Ophelia wrote it, she had suffered a broken pelvis and was no longer able to live alone. The independence she had enjoyed as a brilliant, active woman was gone, and she was totally dependent on others for the most basic human needs.”*
But, that’s not the entire quote. Let me share it with you here:
I have unshakeable faith in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life, for I know that God is in absolute control. For every crisis there is Christ.Ophelia Hughes
So, in this crazy year of one disaster (literally) after the other, do you have unshakeable faith?
- If your faith is in the medical profession or science, I think you can say it’s been shaken.
- If your faith is in the words of politicians, I’m pretty confident it’s been shaken.
- If your faith is in your bank account, there’s a possibility it’s been shaken.
- If your faith is in your home, car, or possessions, I have the feeling recent storms have shaken this as well.
- If your faith is in yourself and ability to “handle life,” hasn’t even this been shaken?
The empty promises of the world and even of our selves can send us spinning when disaster strikes. No perfect outcomes there. Only those with faith in Christ can remember his words on this topic:
If you’ve been sitting around thinking disaster can’t strike, watch out! No one is immune to trouble in this world, whether it’s from a pandemic, massive snow storm, tornado, flood, illness, or loss of job. Jesus told us over two thousand years ago there would be trouble. But he also said to those who trust in him, they can take heart, because he has overcome the world!
Just like Mrs. Hughes knew, it doesn’t mean Christians don’t face crises. No, the troubles are real enough for us all. The difference is we have a God who sees us through. What does that look like?
- It can be as simple as the calm assurance that I am not alone in the crisis. God is by my side.
- It means that I will not despair, even when I struggle to the point of total dependence on others. Instead I find gratitude to be on the receiving end of their help and care.
- It means that, like Job, I will not just curse God and die. I will accept good and trouble as a part of God’s perfect will for my life.
- It means that even in the midst of crisis, I ask the Lord to show me ways to be used for his glory. Maybe a crisis is an opportunity to help others in his name.
- It means that I choose to rest in his salvation, knowing that even if this crisis means death for me, I gain the perfect outcome of life for eternity.
If you are swimming in the sea of doubt and fear in the midst of a crisis, faith in Christ is the lifesaver to pull you to the solid shore. Don’t miss this opportunity to grab on to him.
For those who already trust in Jesus, may others see in us, in the midst of trouble, an unshakeable faith that proclaims: “For this and every crisis, there is Christ.”
Grace and Peace
Winebrenner, Intimate Faith, p. 53.
*New Addition: In preparation for a devotional I’m writing, entitled, Living by the Highlights, I am sharing quotes from the many books that have impacted my life. Feel free to meditate on the thoughts shared, and share to your social media as you feel led. Carol