Politicians are famous for saying, “Never waste a crisis.” Usually referring to a short window of opportunity to quickly and effectively raise money for their campaigns or get their political agendas pushed through because people are consumed with something else.
John Ortberg in his excellent book, When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box, says, “Don’t Wait for a Crisis.” In other words, don’t wait for something to happen where you have to do what you should’ve already been doing.
Here’s some of what he shared:
“A busy father whose neglected daughter runs away from home and gets sucked into a life of addiction suddenly finds time to scour the country for her and then spends weeks looking for treatment clinics and rehab centers.
A couple who were too busy for each other suddenly find massive amounts of time for counseling and lawyer and legal bills and apartment searches when a marriage falls apart.
A businessperson who ‘had’ to take ethical shortcuts and cut corners to keep up with the competition suddenly had time to reflect on right and wrong and wonder why she was living under so much pressure when she was fired for misconduct.
A workaholic, rushaholic, compulsive overachiever suddenly finds twenty-four hours a day to ask what life really means when a lab report comes back from the doctor’s office marked ‘malignant.’
One day, of course, we will face the ultimate crisis. Our earthly life will end, and we will stand before God. Jesus’ story about the rich fool is a story about a man headed toward a crisis without paying attention, like a skipper admiring the beauty and soundness of his yacht about fifteen feet before plunging over Niagara Falls. If we wait long enough, the crisis will come. The crisis always comes. But it is better not to wait.” 1
We’re in a crisis right now … all of us … at the same time!
My guess is some of us have gotten caught not doing what we should’ve already been doing, but we’re doing it now … because of the crisis. Trouble is we waited … for a crisis. So what should we be doing right now? I’d suggest we should be listening to what God is trying to teach us and learn what God is trying to show us.
Because God never wastes a crisis.
Here are a few lessons we should be learning right now:
1. Stay connected and as close as you can get to God. Social distancing might be a good thing for a few weeks or months. But spiritual distancing is never good. Spend time alone with God every day in His Word and in prayer.
2. Take care of yourself. It sounds selfish, but it's central to you being able to help anyone else. Truth is, if you don’t take care of yourself, the day will come when you can’t take care of anyone. Get some exercise, every day. And don’t overdo it on the comfort food or the stretchy pants routine. Don’t self-medicate with alcohol, smoking, vaping, drugs, etc. Eating right and exercising regularly can help fix a lot of other things in our lives.
3. Enjoy your family. Don’t let the stress of this current crisis isolate you from the ones who love you most. In many ways this crisis has been a gift to families. A gift of time. A gift of togetherness. And it won’t last. Soon we will be back to the busyness of everyday living and we’ll look back and miss these times we had to be together.
4. Stay connected to your friends, extended family members and co-workers. A simple call, FaceTime, Zoom or Google Hangouts would do wonders to lift their spirits and yours as well. Sending a text doesn’t usually end with, “I love you,” or “I miss you.” Take advantage of every avenue to connect and be real with the people you really care about.
So what should we be doing right now? I’d suggest we should be listening to what God is trying to teach us.
5. Be kind to everyone. Everybody is experiencing stress and pressure at unprecedented levels. Smile and wave at your neighbors. Say, “Thank you!” whenever you get the chance to every doctor, nurse, police officer, firefighter, grocery store worker, truck driver, whoever is helping you and all of us in this mess we find ourselves in.
6. Don’t miss worship online, no matter what. Getting take out food from a restaurant is great, but it can’t compare to the experience of actually being there and enjoying it all in person. Soon we will be back together to worship and I believe it will be better than ever. More meaningful, more emotional, more spiritual, more personal, so much more than ever before because of what we’ve all been through ... together.
No need to wait for a crisis. It’s already here. Let’s listen and learn what God wants us to hear and know. If we do, we’ll be better and stronger because of it. And it’s then we’ll realize … God never wastes a crisis.
Neither should we.
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron.
1 Ortberg, John. When the Game Is over, It All Goes Back in the Box. Zondervan, 2015.Pg. 106-107.
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.