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The first thing is usually easily discernible to anyone associated with the crisis. Your friends can see what is happening to you. The other thing is not as perceptible to the ones involved in the situation or those observing your trouble from afar.
The First Thing – When I go through a crisis, I can usually articulate what I am going through as well as the strategies I hope to implement to get out of it. From a practical perspective, it is essential to let others know what is happening. You want to share with them your plans to bring the crisis to an end.
Your friends care about you; they want to know what is going on in your life and they want to know what your “crisis management plans” are, as well as what they can do to help. This type of interaction is typical and expected Christian love and concern.
The Other Thing – But for people of faith, we must tell the whole story, which is not just what we’re going through in real-time and space. It’s the other story that includes your understanding of what the Father is teaching you as He takes you through the crisis.
Our unbelieving culture has only one narrative. They can only tell you what they are going through and what they plan to do about it. Their story is incomplete, in that there is no other-worldly element and experience for them. They find their best hope in their strength, abilities, plans, strategies, and endurance.
But for the Christian, there is an intuitive awareness that God is up to something. You know that He is active, speaking, and working on your behalf. The Christian understands that the story he is going through is more about drawing attention to God than the real-time and space aspects of the crisis. The crisis becomes an opportunity to magnify the Father.
If the point of your life is more about God rather than yourself, which it should be, most assuredly the hardships you go through are more about the glory the Father receives rather than the personal comfort or security you experience.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
My old friend Job reminds me of a believer who went through some of life’s most excruciating trials. But through all of it, his faith, like a stained garment, bled through the pain he endured. Through the years, I have found inexpressible satisfaction with Job’s faith in God. He was weak, tired, and at times he was bitter. He received little help from his friends, and even his wife could have been a better supporter.
God was determined not to give Job explanations for the trials he was going through. And for Job, it did not have to make sense. His faith was not resting in the hope for future explanations. He situated his confidence in a good God who was able to do the impossible. Here are three of my all-time favorite faith-infused Job quotes:
Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, Naked, I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. – Job 1:20-21
Though he slay me, I will hope in him. – Job 13:15
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, he will stand upon the earth. – Job 19:25
When the movie about your crisis is a wrap, what will people remember? What you did or did not do in the crisis? What God did through you in the crisis? Will you magnify God or yourself?