Rahn Emmanuel, the former Mayor of Chicago, sent the media world into a conniption fit when he said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” Despite the controversial nature of the phrase, the idea was not born in the political world. The Scriptures encourage Christian to not let their crises go to waste. James reports that crises and trials which test our faith can produce “steadfastness” which enriches and purifies our spiritual lives. Conversely, Matthew 13:21 warns that tribulation and persecution cause one to fall away from the faith delivered once for all. Though ever house on the spiritual bluff will be tested by storms, the outcome of those gails can either lead people to spiritual enrichment upon the rock of Jesus Christ or to spiritual death upon the sands of doom.
How do Christians keep their crises from going to waste?
We love the Lord with all our heart soul mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. After spending a deceitful year in the land of Philistia, David’s life comes crashing to a halt. He and his men had been ungraciously removed from their post in the Philistine army. When they return home to console their wounded egos, they find burnt walls and empty rooms. Every woman and child they left behind had been captured. The text reports that “David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep (1 Sam 30).” David is greatly distressed because his family is gone and because his men speak of stoning him. All David has left is God. And to God, David turns. First Samuel 30:6b says, “But David strengthen himself in the Lord his God.” David returns to God. He stops listening to his heart. He stops listening to his men. David returns to the promises of his God In 1 Samuel 23:17, the expression strengthening someone in the Lord is followed, Jonathan saying, ““Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.” To strengthen their hearts in the Lord, Christians must recall God’s promises of salvation, mercy, love, justice, and grace. They should preach to their hearts telling their weary souls of the wondrous might of their God.
And how do Christians know their hearts have been strengthened?
They ask God what to do. For the first time in more than a year and four months, David consults the Lord about what do to next. And God responds, ordering David to rescue his family and the families of his men. David goes.
Often Christians feel overwhelmed by cancer, financial insecurities, and by troubles at school because they refuse to obey God. They attempt to fix their problems through hard work, determination, and self-centered manipulation. They refuse to obey God and refuse to love others. To make the most of trials, Christians must know and obey the Word of God. There is no other way but to trust and obey.
When Christians love God, they cannot help but love their fellow man. The minute David returns to the God, he begins to love others well. When he meets the sojourning Egyptian slave, David lives out Exodus 22:21 which says, “ ““You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” By following God’s revealed will, David gains helpful intelligence on his enemy’s positions. He and his men sweep down upon the Amalekites, crushing the men who had stolen their families. They defend the defenseless. At the end of the day, David and his men head home with their families, their possessions and the spoils of War. Some of David’s men begin to return to unholy ideas and proclaim that only the men who fought in the battle deserved to profit from the arduous day’s work. David bluntly said, “You shall not do so, my brothers.” Why? David says, “The Lord…He has preserved us and given into our hand the band that come against us.” David shares his wealth because he understands that all wealth, power, and success comes from the Lord. He understands that the man who prays and the missionary who goes are both indispensable to the kingdom of God. David loves both equally. He does not play favorites. He loves his fellow man regardless of whether or not he is a foreigner, in distress, or unproductive in the world’s eyes.
For suffering to be a matter of all joy, we must meet the waves of adversity with the love. Friends, are you ready to make the most of your next crisis?