being-alone-513526_1280By Dr. Harold Sala

When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:2

“It has become almost habitual in these grim days,” says the opening sentence of the newsletter of the Royal Bank of Canada, “for political and economic commentators to speak of a ‘crisis of confidence.’  The expression has a suitable heavy ring to it, like the bells of doom.  It has also proved to be a convenient device for explaining away problems for which there is no other obvious reason.  As a catchphrase it has the merit of being at once both resounding and vague.”

I have been thinking a good deal about that phrase, “a crisis of confidence,” and noticed that among other things it is applied to governments, the economy, personal relationships, and domestic situations.  The last analysis is that belief and trust have given way to doubt and skepticism.  The confidence that you once had in an institution, or a person, or even the future, has eroded and what you have left is a crisis marked by uncertainty and conjecture.  Have we overworked the “crisis syndrome” today?

Watching the news, or reading the headlines, leaves you with the impression that a crisis is not a temporary challenge, but rather a status quo–a situation which is chronic and just does not go away–when, in reality, a crisis is like a turn in the road which demands decision.  It is actually a turning point at which a situation will either get better or worse.  In medicine, it is said that a person is facing a crisis when his condition has reached the point at which either death or recovery is expected.

The Chinese word for “crisis” is written with two characters.  One is the character or symbol for danger; the other, opportunity.  The Chinese view crisis as a fork in the road–one branch of which leads to danger, the other to opportunity; and the turning point is the crisis.  The very nature of the situation demands decision.  Though we usually avoid a crisis, if at all possible, it affords the opportunity to make new discoveries and realize new possibilities.

Because of my orientation to people and their needs, I’ve been thinking how you, (not fate, or chance, or irony) are the one who decides whether a crisis will destroy you or enrich you.  For example, if there is a crisis in your marriage, your relationship is threatened by somethinganother person, an illness, a financial disaster, or whatever.  It is a crisis for certain, and it can destroy you or it can cause you to seek help, and then to communicate on a deeper level with each other.  It can cause you to drop to your knees and cry out as did Jehoshaphat of old, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).  It is the very cry of a person whose values of life or marriage are threatened, and he prays, “God, I don’t know what the answer is, but I still have confidence in You and I believe You can help me.  Please do, Lord.”

The good news of the Gospel is that in times of crisis and upheaval, there is an unchanging God in heaven who will respond to your cries and meet your deepest need.  Of this one thing, I am certain.  The future will continue to confront us with one crisis after another of all kinds, shapes and descriptions.  When we are faced with them, there is but one thing to do, and that is to cry out as did David, “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” (Psalm 61:2).  Yes, Lord, please turn danger into an opportunity today.

Resource reading: Psalm 61.