Devotions for Times of Crisis ~ Day 9: "I Don't Think I Can Make It Through This!"
Crisis brings with it a sense of drowning, a sense that there is a real danger that control over one’s mind is being lost. The overwhelming anxiety and fear that come washing over us in waves make us feel alone and isolated, having the responsibility of dealing with the crisis completely on our own. That, in turn, makes us feel even more isolated and alone. It’s a vicious circle. We know that we need help, but we don’t know where that help will come from, and quite honestly we often can’t even articulate what kind of help we need. Sometimes we feel that we just need a hug, to know that we are not really alone. Most of the time the deepest need that we have is to be understood, and to be reassured that we will make it through the crisis and that we are not alone in dealing with it.
For Christians our support system comes not only through our family and our network of friends, but it especially comes from our church. The Bible describes the Church as being the body of Christ: “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body … and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many...But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 24b-27).
In the Church we find people who will genuinely listen to us, who will help us feel that we are understood; we will find people who will speak words of encouragement to us so that we find the reassurance that we will make it through our crisis; we will find people who may have gone through a similar crisis in their own lives and who can offer us that comfort that they themselves have received from God and God’s people; we will find people who will pray with us, share God’s Word with us, and become tangible expressions of God’s love for us. Because God has uniquely gifted the various members of His Church with natural skills and experiences, and with spiritual gifts, we may find in the church people who have resources that can help us. In other words, we may find in the church not just emotional and spiritual help, but also material help, too.
When God calls us to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, He not only unites us to Christ (through faith), but He also unites us together as a family. Through His people He creates a community of love and faith through which He works to bring comfort, help, encouragement, healing, and support to His people who are in crisis. Through the Church God can, and will, assure us that we are not alone. He is with us. His people are likewise with us. We do not walk this dark path alone. We are not as isolated as we feel.
Of course, we have to reach out to our church family. They aren’t mind readers, after all. If we’re in crisis we need to let someone at church that we trust know, so that the church can start to mobilize its rich resources to help us in whatever form of help God designs. In a society in which we are taught that we are independent individuals who ought to be able to handle problems on our own, that initial contact can be a bit scary and even humiliating. But those feelings quickly disappear once God’s care and love start flowing to us through His people. In the Church we aren’t called to be rugged individualists; we’re called to be a family, to be the body of Christ. In the body of Christ, when one part suffers the rest of the body suffers with it and tends to it and looks after it. We are a community, not a society of hermits; a family, not a loose association of strangers.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, how can I thank you enough for all the blessings that you give me. You have blessed me with your presence in all situations in life. But you also know that sometimes that isn’t enough, that sometimes life gets so rough that I need more tangible proofs of your presence and love for me. So you’ve blessed me with my church family. Through the members of my congregation you work to encourage me, to comfort me, to reassure me, and give me some hope and some peace and some rest along the way. You give me people that can help me. Lord, what an awesome God you are! Grant that when I finally come through this crisis that I will be able to show my thanks to you by helping someone else who may go through a similar crisis and touch them with the help and comfort that you’re showing me right now. In your name I pray. Amen.