Written by Ps Greg McKinnon from Harvest Church Horsham
Time and time again the bible shows us men and women who are faced with impossible odds, at their wits end, struggling to get up after being knocked down again and again and again. Whether it’s Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brothers, Moses running from his home after murdering someone, David feeling the guilt of his adultery, Peter sinking in the water after taking the giant step of faith out of the boat or perhaps Paul, writing his letters from a prison cell. The bible is full of people who, despite their situations and circumstances, are able to learn, grow and move forward. They didn’t allow the pain and the crisis that they were facing to go to waste.
Jesus all but promises us trouble in this world in John 16:33.
“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.”
Jesus tells us that no matter who we are or what we do we WILL face trouble in this world. He goes on to say that He has already overcome the world. But there is something else Jesus says in this verse. ‘But take heart’. What does it mean to ‘TAKE HEART’? Somethings that come to my mind are; be sure, stand firm, listen well, understand, take note, be aware.
I believe that a part of ‘TAKING HEART’ is to ensure that we are open to God’s teaching through each and every circumstance that we face. Good or bad. Because at the end of the day, nothing teaches better than experience. Especially when it comes to making mistakes, difficult situations or perhaps even a crisis.
Trouble can be a great teacher. A crisis can be a great classroom. God will often use what we call a ‘crisis’ as a ‘classroom’ to teach us something.
With that being said, below are 6 lessons I learned from a crisis that I went through a few years ago.
6 LESSONS FROM THE CLASSROOM OF CRISIS:
1. You need to know your calling
When trouble comes, when trials and difficult times try to press us down. We need to have a strong heart of what we’re called to. Understanding our calling is such a big key in getting through the tough days.
How do you understand your calling? Well your calling comes from God, so reading the word of God is probably the best place to start. Second, get around older, wiser leaders and ask them to speak into your life. Don’t try to be the lone ranger and do this alone. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have felt weak and have gone back through the words spoken over my life regarding who I am and my God given purpose and calling.
2. You need to know your they
I often hear people saying “Well THEY said this….” “THEY didn’t seem to like….” One of the biggest lessons I am still learning is knowing who my ‘THEY’ are. People always want to add their 2 cents, want their opinion to be heard above the rest. And unless you know who your ‘THEY’ are you will be open to any and all sources of input, feedback and also criticism.
Now criticism is great if it is being delivered by the right person. The biggest ‘THEY’ in my life is my beautiful wife Rhiannon. Others include my senior pastors, specific friends and family and other wiser leaders whom I have verbally given permission to speak into my life and call me out when they think I’m off target.
If my ‘THEY’ say I’m all ok, then I don’t care what any other ‘THEY’ have to say.
3. You need to know your pace
“God will give you the grace for your pace” – Ps Mike Todd
In the old testament we see God provide daily manna for the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Egypt. God specifically told them to only gather manna for that particular day, not to stock up for tomorrow because ‘tomorrow has its own trouble”.
God gave the Israelites enough manna for TODAY. In the same way God will give us grace for TODAY. But oftentimes we aren’t living in today. We are either living in yesterday or tomorrow. And God is saying “I give you GRACE for today”.
When we are running at the wrong pace, it is the same as trying to live in tomorrow without the grace of today.
4. You need to know your convictions
What are your non negotiable’s?
I remember when I first got into ‘official paid’ ministry, I made a decision with my wife that come hell or high water we weren’t going to leave the church we were in unless we were certain that it was a God thing. No matter how hard, how annoying, how difficult the seasons got, unless God said go, we weren’t going anywhere. This was a conviction we had from the start and it has seen us through many difficult days.
You need to know your own convictions, what God has put in your heart, the things that you will not budge on. These can be spiritual, physical, emotional and even relational.
5. You need to know your engine
What happens if an airplane runs out of fuel or if an airplane is damaged during a flight? It must land, pull into the hanger and get repairs.
I believe that there are a lot of leaders and pastors out there that are essentially airplanes that are either damaged or flying with empty fuel tanks. And feel that they are either too ‘busy’ or too ‘important’ to land the plane, pull into the hanger and make some repairs and get refuelled.
You need to know your engine. You need to know when your engine is damaged. You need to know when your engine is low on fuel. And it is so important that you put the right things in place so you can refuel and make repair when needed.
Maybe you need a break, counselling (I think we all need counselling), a regular catch up with a life giving mentor, 18 holes of golf…. Whatever it is, just do it.
6. And finally, you need to know your priorities
Let me say this, if you have a wife or a husband, or even kids. Your family must always be a priority above the church and your ministry. And if you’re single, use this time to establish the correct boundaries and priorities before you have a family.
Our priorities are what guide us when the going gets tough, so we’d want to make sure that they are lined up with what God says and what is truly important.
Self care needs to be a priority. You can’t help anyone if you’re not helping yourself. Only you can set your priorities, no one can do it for you. SO maybe spend some time this week checking your priorities.
I hope these few points have encouraged and spoken to you right where you are. I believe that the best is truly yet to come for you. And always remember, we are better together. Be blessed!