September 2022 | Jesus, the Door

Crises in the Life of a Believer-A Biblical Perspective

Crises in the Life of a Believer-A Biblical Perspective

Dr. K. P. Mathew

A crisis situation is defined as a stressful time in an individual’s life when they experience a breakdown or disruption in their usual or normal daily activities or family functioning. It’s irrespective of culture, belief and practice. With COVID-19 pandemic and the spike in cases  worldwide with the top leaders of nations get diagnosed bring the awareness that no one is safe and secure with prideful enthusiasm or with natural remedies. A lot of fear, anxiety, uncertainty, social isolation, economic instability, make people physically, emotionally, and spiritually weak. 

God has by his own free decision and action brought into being everything and he is in control of that creation. We observe the goodness of God- His attributes of love, mercy and patience, yet evil is obviously present. There are destructive forces of nature: hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, wildfires etc. Much suffering of human lives is caused by deadly diseases. Other type of evil is formed for man’s exercise of his own free will. Here, we find crime, cruelty, class struggles, discrimination, slavery and 

injustices in community. We have trouble in the world and in our lives because of humanity’s sinful nature. However, the book of Job shows that troubles do not necessarily come in direct proportion to our sin. The book of psalms is the most read and most preached one in the Bible. In this book, we read of every anguish and every emotion the human heart has ever felt. In psalm 71, the writer looks back on his life and admits that God has allowed him to experience some bitter troubles. David who experienced crises in the severity reminds us that even if we walk through the valley of death, God’s staff and rod will protect and comfort. God may have many reasons for allowing the godly to experience suffering, such as ; (a) to lead someone away from sin and closer to him (Heb. 12:4-13), (b) to build up a person’s character (James 1:2-8), or (c) to provide a means to glorify God (Jn. 9:1-5).

The following factors are to be taken into our attention for understanding the present crises and for a development of thought and practice in the pandemic situation. 

1. Arrogance and Self-reliance 

Why did 70,000 people die when Israel had David as powerful king? A question comes in our mind from the account in 1 Chronicles 21. David’s sin was not in taking census but a wrong motive for taking it. After extensive military victories, he seemed inclined to trust in a strong army rather than in all-powerful God. When we understand the eastern tradition in which the head of a family, tribe or nation represented the people under them. The members were treated as a whole sharing in the blessings or punishments resulting from the actions of their leaders. Adam’s sin had consequences for all humanity (Romans 5:12). When Achan sinned, God said, Israel has sinned (Joshua 7:11). In a time of prosperity and strength arrogance and self-reliance made David deaf to God’s warning. He failed to pay attention to Joab’s advice, but he had listened to the advice of many on other occasions. Much of the suffering is resulted from arrogance and pride of the people of God or national leaders on earth. 2Chrocicle 7:14 has been a key text in many conventions and fasting prayers in our churches but most people failed to seriously apply in practical life. Bible gives us accounts of God’s intervention in history for He is sovereign and is in control. 

2. Anxiety and Fear 

The World Health Organization has drawn attention to the psychological impact of COVID-19 across the World in terms of elevated levels of stress and anxiety. This stress is leading to an increase in suicides. They look to the church for love, care and acceptance. This support may not be available due to lockdown. Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. He became fearful, exhausted, depressed and wanted to die. He focused over the turn of events and got disappointed. Depression is a devastating, debilitating malady that affect our total personality. When the Lord appeared to Elijah, he replied, “I am the only one left and they are trying to kill me too” (1 Kings 19:10). He thought his mission is done and nothing more to do. God confronted him with the need to return to his mission. 

We all may go through the situation like him in serving the Lord. When we feel let down after a great spiritual experience, remember that God’s purpose for our life is not completed.Our encounter with God enables us to overcome the crises in their extremity. 

Covid-19 has become a threat to people all over the world. Most people are worried of their future,but we believe God commands our destiny and we shall overcome all challenges. Jesus said, “in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33-34) 

3. Relational Crisis

 Church is a community of believers who are blessed with fellowship. Meet in the house of the Lord for prayer, praise and worship became a routine of line. All are strengthened in greeting each other with a joyful communication of the expression “praise the Lord”. Above all they recognize others as brothers and sisters in the family of God. The Holy Spirit rearranges our relationships and our attachments (Acts 2:44-45). With mandated physical distancing pastors found it challenging to remain in contact with the elderly and people in rural areas. The attitude of sharing and caring each other up to a certain extent is very much minimized now due to self -isolation imposed in our community due to the pandemic. Kids prefer in-person education, but they miss it. Young people are forced to postpone their marriages and fail to build up family life as a strong basis for a healthy community life. It’s been so overwhelming as Pastors and families from comforting grieving families with a physical touch includes a shaking hand or a hug. People are scared to attend even the funeral services of dear ones due to severe restrictions. Here, video calls, text messages and email communications could be used as remedies to affirm our love and care.

4. Developing Unhealthy Spirituality

Churches around us miss the opportunity to get spiritual direction from the local pastors, the shepherding is lost up to a certain extent. The shepherd-sheep relationship (pastor-believer relationship) is significant in our community to build up church in worship,fellowship, witness and service. Many are disconnected in the pandemic situation due to their technological ignorance or limitations. Local pastor is the right person who knows them very personally to meet the emotional and spiritual need. Sitting to watch a worship service on Sundays or attending a Zoom worship are temporary arrangements. Young people in churches all over the world consider Zoom meeting as a comfort zone. It provides more freedom, accessibility, and short service with a message along with praise and worship. Worship service with Holy communion service is more scriptural and good example for the church but it is strictly avoided due to guidelines from the state. Cottage meetings have been significant for us to develop fellowship between each other. Gathering at different homes during weekdays for intercessory prayer, exhortation from the Word with fellowship meals enhanced the bond between each other before the pandemic. Healthy spirituality is well linked with healthy hospitality throughout Centuries as mentioned in Heb. 13:1-3. Church grow with faithful tithers and sincere givers but many of them don’t use the internet for giving or even paying bills in rural areas.

5. Challenge the faith in God’s providence

The pandemic has become a fundamental test of faith in God and God’s providence. The revival speakers in churches, crusades and in television speaking used to emphasize and claim instant healing, deliverances and miracles by believing in Jesus’s name through offering powerful prayers. People are confused now in this pandemic when no instant miracle takes place upon prayers. Pastors and teachers have a great role to educate our church members to have sound biblical teaching on God’s deliverances and miracles.

6. Rise on distorted teaching on Eschatology

Post-tribulationists maintain that coming of Christ for His church will not take place until the end of the great tribulation.They draw a distinction between the wrath of God and the tribulation and maintain that wrath of God spoken of in the scripture as coming upon the wicked (Jn 3:36) and all believers will go through tribulation (Matt.24:9,21,29). However, the emphasis in Pre-tribulationism is that the Lord’s return is imminent. The rapture of the church is pictured in 1 Thess.4:17. The view that church will not go through the great tribulation is more scriptural than others. The pandemic is viewed by some as part of great tribulation. It’s a distorted teaching from the Scripture. The blessed hope of the church is to be upheld in this pandemic situation.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial that you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12). In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). Let us be confident that He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. God is in control. Those who leave everything in the hands of the Lord will see the hands of the Lord in everything.    

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