The world around us seems to be running out of control and try as much as we can, life continues to be a struggle.
For some people, life is moving from one crisis to the next – and for many who find themselves in a crisis, God would be the furthest thing from their minds.
There’s a tendency in this situation to perceive God as unloving, uncaring, indifferent and, for some, they see God as impractical and irrelevant.
Is God really aloof from all of what is happening around us? Psalms 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble”.
That seems contrary to how people respond to God in moments of crisis. They will try everything else but God to be relieved. They actually disconnect themselves from God, instead of connecting with God, the one who is able to help no matter what the crisis is about.
In the Book of Job in the Old Testament, the Bible tells the story of a man whose life was suddenly thrown into a crisis. In one day, Job lost his oxen and donkeys, his sheep and shepherds were struck by lightning, his camels were stolen by raiders, and a tornado struck the home in which his children were feasting and all of them were killed. Not long after, Job was afflicted with boils all over his body. (Read the Book of Job, chapters 1-2.)
If you found yourself in the same situation as Job was, where the very foundation of your life – material possessions, sources of income, transportation, family members and personal health – were suddenly taken from you, what would you do?
Thousands of years ago David asked that question when he was a fugitive. Psalms 11:3 says, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
When everything is in crisis and chaos what can good people do? The Bible gives us two words – focus and worship. 1Chronicles 16:11 says, “Go to the Lord for help and worship Him”. Psalms 34:9b says, “Worship opens doors to all His goodness.”
It is in our darkest hour that we need most to focus on God. When we feel crushed, when we feel out of control, that is when we need most to focus on, to worship God.
You’re going to go through many tragedies and sufferings in life. You’re going to lose loved ones. You’re going to have things go wrong in your life. My question is, how do you connect with God in a crisis?
When your heart is breaking, the Bible tells us to worship Him. It’s the best thing you can do.
Job, in his time, was the wealthiest man in the world. On one day he lost everything. He lost his business, he lost his career, he lost his family, he lost all his possessions, he even lost his health.
Everything Job had was taken away from him in one single day. Nevertheless, the first thing Job did was fall on his face to the ground and worship God.
How do you worship God in a tragedy? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when they’re full of tears? How do you connect with God in a crisis? From the life of Job, we learn three things to do.
1. When you face a crisis the first thing that you do is tell God how you feel. Unload all your feelings, pour out every emotion that you’ve got. Let God hear it.
Lamentations 2:19 says, “Cry out in the night. Pour out your heart like water in prayer to the Lord”.
You can pour out your heart to God and tell Him all the emotions that are bottled up inside of you. In your moment of crisis, pour out your anger, pour out your grief, pour out your shock and disbelief, pour out your anxiety or fear. That is the first thing that you do in a crisis, tell God exactly how you feel.
The truth is, God can handle your emotions. He made you. He gave you those emotions. This is exactly what Job did. The first thing he did when he lost everything was he told God how he felt.
The Bible says in Job 7:11, “I can’t be quiet. I’m angry. I’m bitter and I have to speak”. Job is totally honest with God. He tells God exactly how he feels. He questioned, he complained and he made bold accusations. And God handled it and still loved Job.
So when you face a tragedy, and you will many times in life, the correct response is to be honest to God and tell Him exactly how you feel. David said in Psalms 116.10, “I kept on believing even when I said, ‘I’m completely crushed’”. That’s the first step in connecting with God in a crisis. Tell Him how you feel.
2. You praise God in spite of the circumstances. When things go wrong in your life, you’re going to find the foundations shaken under you. But you praise God in spite of the circumstances.
You don’t wait for an explanation, because there are some things in this world that aren’t going to be explained until you stand before God. Until then, just praise God in spite of the circumstances.
This is what Job did when he lost everything he had in one day. He said, “I was born with nothing and I will die with nothing.
The Lord gave and now the Lord has taken away. May His name be praised”.
In spite of everything that happened Job did not sin by blaming God. He praised His name in spite of everything.
The book of Job is all about one question in life: Will a person continue to worship God if he loses everything? Let me make that personal. Would you continue to follow God, to trust God, to love God, if everything went wrong in your life and nothing made any sense?
This is the ultimate test of faith, because not all your prayers in life are going to be answered the way you want them to be answered and according to the schedule that you want.
How can we praise and worship God in spite of the circumstances? Because the circumstances of life do not change the truth about God.
Job praised God for six different things, the same six things you can praise God for:
First: That He is a good and loving God. No matter what happens, God is going to love me. Second: That He is all-powerful.
Third: That He notices every detail of my life. Fourth: That He’s in control. God is moving history in the direction that He wants it to go. Fifth: That He has a plan for our lives. Job says, “He will fulfill what He has planned for me”. Sixth: That He promises to protect us.
Now, why does God allow evil? The truth is, evil has basically been in the world since Adam thumbed his nose at God and said, “I’m going to do what I want to do”.
God has given us a free will, a free choice and that means people often choose to do the wrong thing.
God will never take away anyone’s right to make choices in life. He doesn’t want puppets. But God wants people to love Him voluntarily, because they have a choice.
Love isn’t genuine unless you’ve got a choice. Make a choice to praise God in spite of your circumstances, and ask Him in prayer for help.
And that’s the third thing you do when you connect with God in a crisis.
Pastor Tevai Matapo
(Assemblies of God Churches)