Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Alan Redpath, British pastor, evangelist and author, said, “If you’re a Christian pastor, you’re always in a crisis – either in the middle of one, coming out of one or going into one.”
That’s certainly been true this year for every pastor and for every one of us. For the past six months we’ve all found ourselves in crisis after crisis and, if that weren’t bad enough, we just had two hurricanes in one week: Hurricane Marco and Hurricane Laura.
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but ... there are four months left in 2020.
So what do we do when crises come? How should we respond?
Fifteen years ago, business icon, JACK WELCH, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001, wrote a book simply called, WINNING. In that book, he included an entire chapter on Crisis Management. Here’s some of what he said:
“It’s no wonder that crisis management is often referred to as firefighting. Like a four-alarm blaze, an event of the oh-God-no variety can really consume an organization.
“Crises happen. As long as companies are made up of human beings, there will be mistakes, controversies, and blowups. There will be accidents, theft, and fraud.
"Each crisis is different … The uniqueness of each crisis makes it hard to come up with rules for getting through them. There are however, five things you can assume about how your crisis will unfold. These assumptions aren’t a formula for managing a crisis, but hopefully they’ll provide directional guidance as you get from oh-God-no back to yes-we’re-fine again:
First, assume the problem is worse than it appears.
Second, assume there are no secrets in the world and that everyone will eventually find out everything.
Third, assume you and your organization’s handling of the crisis will be portrayed in the worst possible light.
Fourth, assume there will be changes in processes and people. Almost no crisis ends without blood on the floor.
Fifth, assume your organization will survive, ultimately stronger for what happened."
He ended with, “Taking the long view might make living in the hellish moment somewhat more bearable.” 1
When Jack Welch retired from GE he received the largest severance payment in business history of $417 million. He also died on March 1st … are you ready for this? 2020.
That’s great business advice. But what about counsel for Christians? We have the Bible. The problem is … we rarely turn to it … until we have to.
Robert Woglemuth in his book, 7 Things You Better Have Nailed Down Before All Hell Breaks Loose, said, “Trying to survive in a crisis – or in the daily grind of life – without the Bible is like being invited to a huge feast but going home hungry.”
If you’re a Christian, here’s where you begin: EVERY crisis on this earth is TEMPORARY – including death!
That’s step ONE. Here’s step TWO: God has a word for us for every day of our lives and for every disaster we face.
I’ll give you an example. The Bible is full of encouragement and instruction for facing the troubles and trials, crises and calamities of life. Let me point you to ONE CHAPTER I have turned to tons of times over the years. I believe it will encourage you no matter who you are or what you are facing.
“If you’re a Christian, here’s where you begin: EVERY crisis on this earth is TEMPORARY – including death!”
It’s PSALM 37. Check this out …
Vs. 1-2 – “Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb.”
Vs. 3 – “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.”
Vs. 4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Vs. 5-6 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
Vs. 7 – “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!”
Vs. 39 – “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”
Vs. 40 – “The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.”
Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.”
Let me encourage you to face your fears and confront whatever crisis you’re facing by opening Psalm 37 and letting God speak to you today.
That’s the best way Christians, or anyone for that matter, can respond in a crisis.
© 2020. Barry L. Cameron
1 Welch, Jack, and Suzy Welch. Winning. Harper, 2007. Pgs. 147-149
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.