Looking for Good in Times of Crisis
Recently, I was having a discussion with a small group of people about the recent critical events in our country. We were considering the effect that these types of events have on evaluating what is important in our lives.
Crises such as the Las Vegas shooting and Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and other historical tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Hurricane Katrina, and 9/11, involve enormous amounts of loss and pain. The people of our country take notice. The people of our country help. The people of our country pray. The people of our country, many times, stop to evaluate what is important in life.
In looking for anything good that could come of these times of terrible crisis, we need to pause and evaluate what's important to us.
For example, many of us who think back to the terrible tragedy in the United States on 9/11/01, remember calling loved ones who were flying that day to check on them. We began hugging family members more often, along with telling them we loved them. Churches became more filled. We thanked firefighters and policemen personally and frequently. We realized that what truly mattered to us were people and relationships, not money and things.
Many times we are so busy going "all-out" to build our careers and provide for our families, we don't slow down to evaluate what's truly important. We should adjust the use of our time and resources based on those priorities.
In looking for the good in times of crisis, it is also beneficial to lean on God and pray to Him. Some might be critical of others and say, "Sure, you have never set foot in a church or prayed to God, but you pray now that your life is on the line." What is wrong with that, especially if it leads to faith in God and gratitude to Him? There may be some who turn the worst experience of their life into the opportunity to be changed through faith. Jesus told his disciples there would be trouble in this world and they were to look to Him for comfort:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)
In an interview after the Las Vegas shooting, I saw a man who was an agnostic become a man of faith in God. Citizens and public figures turned to God and pointed others to God and prayer. In watching some of the coverage of Hurricane Harvey, I saw people that were airlifted to safety smiling and saying, "God is good," because they were alive and safe. Meanwhile, all of their property was gone. I saw people at a shelter break out singing songs about their great God, even though they had likely lost their homes.
In these examples, people were giving thanks to God for getting them this far. It is not for us to judge whether this is a new, "emergency" faith, or a manifestation of a deep, ongoing faith. It is good that they are engaging in their relationship with God. This is an example of goodness that can come out of a crisis; activating our faith in God.
Crises are hard. Catastrophes are terrible to go through. Disasters are not something we would wish on anyone. However, in these times of crisis, many people may change their behaviors and attitudes permanently for the better. While some people may slip back into their "normal routines" over time, others will live by a new set of priorities and a renewed set of values. They may emerge from the crisis with a new way to live, treat others, and engage in their faith in God. These positive changes can occur in those watching the crisis from a distance, as well as those experiencing it first-hand.
Recent events such as the Las Vegas shooting or Hurricane Harvey make us take notice, evaluate priorities, treat others with love, and lean on God. It calls for all of us to reflect and consider what is most important to us. For all of those affected by these tragedies, know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all!
Have you gone through a crisis and found some good in the situation? If so, we would love to hear from you. Please join in the conversation and comment.