Believe it or not, a crisis can be positive. It can strengthen us, bond us more tightly with loved ones, reveal talents we did not realize we had, teach us about skillful and healthful coping, and give us a greater appreciation for this world and this life.
If we had faith before, crises can put our faith into blessed action, increasing our belief and reliance upon God, and give us extra support, especially when the situation is bleakest. Likewise, many who might not believe in God before a crisis often discover a depth of Spirit and ability that transcends their own limited human capacity to cope without it. It is this revelation of the power of the Spirit in a crisis that is truly one of the most positive aspects of living with and through adversity. Far from being naïve, this aspect of crisis is a profound blessing, but often overlooked in the face of the visceral power of images and feelings that convey fear, violence, loss, and pain. Especially today, when negative news seems utterly pervasive, we are consciously and subconsciously exposed to much more of the downside of disasters, personal or public, than any appreciable upside. We are encouraged, overtly and tacitly, to accept a much grimmer reality than there truly is.
Crises do strengthen us. When we look back on how we got through them, they do give us greater courage and even a greater sense of peace. And above all, they enable us to witness how the Spirit works no matter what might be falling apart around us, and this is immensely comforting—a tremendous antidote to panic!
Through the many crises I’ve endured, whether accidents, acts of nature, or deeply personal life experiences, I’ve learned that we need not panic in the face of today’s world or today’s crises, and we need not be victims to the forces that prey upon our spiritual well-being. We have many internal resources, some we already know about and some that are largely undeveloped and untapped that include creativity, adaptability, foresight, and compassion. These are not necessarily skills we could point to on our resumes for a job interview, but they are personal qualities given to us directly from our Creator. If they are well-nurtured and properly employed, they enable us to be stable when we are shaken and be safe when we are singed.
Faith plays a crucial role in my life, whether in calm or turmoil. But it is not as simple as saying, “I have faith.” Instead, for me, faith is the open door to trust and spiritual presence in many different aspects of living. First, I have faith in God. It might not always be easy for me to understand or accept God’s purpose in a crisis, but faith in his presence and trust in his care throughout makes those trying times bountifully blessed and allows me to find spiritual calm when all else is in turmoil.
My faith community brings me a sense of peace, even when we cannot worship together. This is a blessing to me in overt, as well as deeply personal, ways and brings joy, support, insight, and much humor to me daily. Especially now, my faith also goes beyond the walls of the church and touches every other aspect of life. Firmly linked with another word, trust, faith allows me to build strength in areas that are important for supporting serenity, healthful relationships, and a better ability to bounce back when difficult times press down hard. For example, I have faith in the good people in my life, I trust them to behave in honorable ways toward and for me in times of crises (for example, if I needed them to make medical decisions for me when I could not do so myself ). This faith and trust allow me to feel less anxious and fuel personal growth!
There is a tremendous hero inside each of us, a person who can face a crisis and bring to bear inner strength, vitality, courage, and compassion. As you appreciate and develop the heroic qualities within you that protect you and your loved ones from darkness and allow the Spirit to thrive, I hope you will begin to trust even more firmly that, no matter what, there is no need to panic. God's peace is our reward. There is great reason to have faith, hope, and love.