Pagans in a Crisis

“We act like pagans in a crisis.”  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 30.

All too often, when we find ourselves in the middle of a crisis, or simply what we perceive to be a crisis, we have a difficult time relying on the complete reliability of God. We profess trust in Him and His ability and desire to take care of us, but the moment when circumstances get dark and solutions don’t seem readily available, we start bustling around, trying to create our own answers using our own logic. 

When my husband was about to finish graduate school, we were at a stressful point in life.  We had to move because we were living in student housing.  Money was tight, and student loans would be coming due before long.  He had to find a job as soon as possible.  I found myself constantly looking for ways to make things better, and I was likely even seeing problems that didn’t even exist.  My dear husband continuously reminded me that we were in God’s hands, and He was taking care of things, the same as He always had. 

There are many stories in the Bible that tell us about people who do not react well to troublesome situations.  Two of them were a father and son.  Abraham and Isaac found themselves in similar situations and had similar reactions.  Abraham even found himself in the same predicament twice as he traveled across the land with his wife Sarah.  Because Sarah was beautiful, when they were in Egypt (Genesis 12) and Gerar (Genesis 20), Abraham asked Sarah to tell people she was his sister rather than his wife.  He was afraid that someone would kill him in order to have Sarah.  Unfortunately, Abraham’s “brilliant” plan backfired.  Because they believed Sarah to be Abraham’s sister, Pharaoh and the king of Gerar each brought Sarah to their palace.  Thankfully, God intervened before anything occurred, but it was clear both times that Abraham failed to trust God to protect his life and his marriage. 

In Genesis 26, Abraham’s son Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, were in Philistine, and Isaac, with the same fear as his father, asked Rebekah to tell people she was his sister rather than his wife.  Rebekah was never taken from Isaac, but Abimelech, the king of the Philistines, discovered their true relationship and rebuked Isaac for his deceitfulness.  Isaac, just like his father, failed to trust God to keep him safe.

On the other hand, we find the life of Joseph, a grandchild of Isaac, who lived a life of difficulty as well as blessing, but always showed exemplary faith through it all.  Genesis chapters 37 through 50 follow the life of Joseph through the ups and downs of his life.  He was the favored child of his father, Jacob, and then sold as a slave by his jealous brothers.  As a slave, he rose to the top of his master’s household, but because of a lie told by his master’s wife, he was imprisoned.  He rose to the top of the prison hierarchy, being put in charge of all the other prisoners, but then he was forgotten by a friend who promised to petition for his release.  Finally, he found himself as second-in-command of the nation of Egypt.  Every time he was pushed down, he trusted God to keep him safe, and every time he was raised up, he gave God the credit. 

Oswald Chambers finished his statement saying, “Only one out of a crowd is daring enough to bank his faith in the character of God.”  Will you be that one?

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