Faith in Times of Crisis
Crisis was befalling the Jerusalem Church
Peter, John already threatened, beaten, imprisoned
Persecution by the Jews, Saul (threats, imprisonment, loss of property, etc.)
Scattered/Dispersed - Crisis nothing new to the Jewish people
Jewish Dispersion a reality in their lives (Acts 6:1, James 1:1, 1 Peter 1:1)
foretold, then brought about in horrific reality
Not just there, then
Crisis among us
Takes many forms
Global pandemic - nations, cities, businesses, families, church all affected
Job, finances, health, family issues
fallen world, body of sin - crisis comes. God never claimed otherwise.
How will we respond?
Complaints, anger, fear and frustration - lashing out, blaming others, attack
Despair and detach - numb yourself, hide away and self-medicate, ostrich tactics
Courage, Resolve, Faith - not denying the reality of the crisis, gripping God’s care, mercies, promises, hope for the future in prayer and obedience
Crisis Under Control
Crisis Under Control
Not out of control - the church being “ravaged” but things were not out of hand.
Crisis Management - the process by which a business or other organization deals with a sudden emergency situation.
Large corporation, the worker doesn’t need to understand exactly how or in what ways the business will respond to a particular crisis. It is anticipated, planned for, identified and responded to at the highest levels and the worker needs to focus on doing their duty and adjusting as guidance is given. They have limited knowledge, and limited control and are forced to operate within those bounds.
Why do we panic when our life becomes suddenly out of control as if there is not a Good Shepherd with perfect knowledge of the entire universe, who loves us and is managing this and all things for our good according to His good purposes? It may be out of my control, but it is under control!
Bigger Picture than what we see
Examples from Scripture where crisis was shown to be part of God’s Plan
Joseph - “what you meant for evil, God used for good”
Nehemiah - report of devastation broke Nehemiah’s heart and brought him to a point of desperate prayer and action
Jesus - crucified and buried, raised from the grave and calling all mankind to Salvation through His sacrifice!
God Working for Good
1 Peter 1:1-9
Redeemer and Shepherd
Job 19:25-26 - He knew God was his Redeemer
Psalm 23 - “Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Acts 8:1 and 1:8
but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
So what was God doing in allowing this persecution to take place? He was fulfilling His promise! “You will be my witnesses...”
In Jerusalem (Church was thriving there)
In all Judea (Gospel now scattered)
In Samaria (Philip and others)
even to the remotest part of the earth. (He’s still doing this, through us!)
He’d promised and prepared (Roman infrastructure, unified language, etc.) for this very moment!
Just as in Joseph, Nehemiah, and Jesus, God was fulfilling His plan of grace and mercy to the nations through the suffering and heartache of His people. Not just them, not just then.
Whatever your Crisis, however out of control your life feels at this moment, know that it has a good, redemptive purpose.
Courage in Crisis
Courage in Crisis
Cause for courage
God is with you
God is not ignorant, nor detached from your circumstances
God doesn’t waste hard times, but uses them to do deep abiding work in His people and to awaken the lost to their need of Him. He is in control.
while this doesn’t make it easier, it gives us the perspective we need to take courage and respond with faith!
Responding in Faith - Eyes up!
Acts 8:4 - they didn’t falter. They didn’t stop believing. They had perspective and faith that surpassed the current circumstances and would share it with others!
Not denial of hardship - things are hard, tragic, filled with sorrow. Other things are actually just not that important although cause us inconvenience, discomfort and frustration. Don’t delude yourself or deny the reality we live in, but neither do we think that what we see is all there is!
Struggling with perspective? Eyes up!
Cut off lies
Feast on truth
Reach up in prayer, grasping Christ and His promises. He wants to be more than a good luck charm, He wants to be our life-blood, the air we breathe. Abide in Him!
Look inward and around and see what God is doing
Is there sin in me that He’s purging, digging out? Are there idols breaking down? Is He strengthening areas in my life that are weak? Is He teaching me dependence and helplessness? Calling me to act?
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Is He working in those around me? Is He using my faith as a witness in this time? Is there someone close by that this is impacting too? How can I faithfully lean into what God is doing?
Could it be that this is not just about me, but is a means to something bigger, something greater - part of a plan that, while it looks like ashes at this moment, will shine forth in days to come as a beautiful work of Grace?
Take thoughtful, prayerful action. Worrying about things outside your control brings despair and bitterness. Your job is to do your duty and adjust to guidance as it comes. Are you seeking guidance? Are you acting on it when it comes?
If God is working for good, is with us and will use us in His redeeming work in this world, we can act faithfully, with hope and courage no matter what is happening around us.