This quotation – by John Fitzgerald Kennedy came up in my reading recently, and if it is true, it seems that there are plenty of opportunities around in the world at present!
Our news bulletins give us a non-stop stream of crises, some real, and some which may or may not occur in the future. There are even now some conspiracy theorists who suggest that it is all part of a brain-washing plan contrived by government to keep the populace pliable and open to manipulation and change. One thing is for sure, that real local, national and international CRISES impact the lives of countless thousands around the globe, to their severe detriment.
In Europe everyone speaks of CRISIS as the UK’s ‘Brexit’ negotiations stall. And we could talk of Assyria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Morocco, Yemen, Iran and Iraq, Venezuela, Ukraine, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic etc. etc. not to mention the CRISIS of a new ‘Cold War’, ‘nuclear arms’ expansion, global warming and environmental pollution.
One CRISIS nearer to home, which really got me thinking, was the mental health CRISIS in Scottish Schools. The Scottish Government is committed to spending £60,000,000 on mental health counselling for young people to tackle growing levels of anxiety and depression. More than 8,000 children with severe mental health problems were waiting to see a specialist at the end of June 2018. These statistics are staggering to me, as a child brought up during the last world war in Glasgow. I cannot remember any children in my class being stressed out. Some are suggesting that the cause is too much social media, mobile phone and ‘internet game’ use. Others suggest that marriage breakdown and ‘partners’ splitting up leave many children feeling stressed and filled with anxiety, all this culminating in various side effects.
CRISES provide OPPORTUNITIES
Personally I haven’t always found it easy in the CRISES of life, to see the situations I faced as opportunities. But as I look back, I can see that God used them to speak into my life. I remember at one point of CRISIS someone quoting a verse from the Bible to me, which didn’t impress me until I stopped to think. It was from Jeremiah 6.16 and here is what it said. ‘This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ I subsequently found this advice to be invaluable and true. There are so many basics here for a time of crisis.
- ‘Listen’ for the voice of God – ask Him for help, what should I do?
- ‘Stand’ – take time to think, sometimes we rush into decisions which we subsequently regret
- ‘Ask’, what sustained our parents and grandparents in times of trouble? – Words like these? ‘Oh God our help in ages past our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast and our eternal home ……’!
- ‘Consider’ the options – do what is right, irrespective of what others have done
- ‘Walk’ forward with confidence with your trust firmly in God
- You will be at peace and find rest for your soul
Unfortunately, the verse finishes with these words ‘But you said, ‘We will not walk in it’. So often we choose our own way, not God’s way, and wonder why it didn’t work out. May God help us all to choose wisely, for we all face a CRISIS at some point in our life!
Looking back I can see in retrospect that God did use the crises of life to move me on to new opportunities!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4v6
Struggling with issues of Faith? Watch Pastor Colin Adams gives a five-minute talk on ‘the Resurrection’ a key factor of the Christian Faith.