When things get frantic, don't just trust in your stuff.
Crisis: A time of great danger or trouble.
Control: To have the power of ruling, managing or guiding.
Whenever I hear the words crisis control, I instantly think of a reaction to a really bad situation: leadership in the mist of confusion, direction during a time of chaos, a clear thought when nothing else makes sense.
Combining these two words, crisis and control, leads me to believe that I can survive any situation as long as I have properly prepared ahead of time. It's a belief that a mixture of education, experimentation and a knowledge of science can help me understand and even avoid such situations. And very often, this is exactly what happens.
Knowledge is powerful. Each generation is living longer and healthier lives than its predecessors. Technology is booming. I can't even keep up with the latest gadgets. My phone is now my address book, Internet portal, personal calendar, MP3 player and source of entertainment while waiting in long lines. I'm excited that cells now come with keyboards so I can text faster. We're benefiting from our parents' and grandparents' emphasis on science and technology. There's a hope and excitement as we ponder what is yet to come.
The thing is, as scientific advances hurdle us into the future, I find myself becoming more and more dependent upon the comfort and security they offer. I can always call AAA on my cell phone if I have a flat tire on a cold rainy night in the middle of nowhere. I get my annual physical check ups so I can manage my health. I've called 9-1-1 during an emergency. I've even researched the cost of a home security system to keep my family safe while I'm out of town.
I'm grateful that these awesome inventions are available. They help me, and countless other people, every day. But what exactly am I relying on?
Who's in Control?
Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers? Of course you do. My wife and I certainly do. Even though the first crash was newsworthy, the story really caught our attention when the second plane hit.
All of a sudden, we were thrown into a crisis. What was going on? What were we supposed to do? We looked at each other and felt very confused, scared, even a little angry. Everything seemed to stop as we — and millions of others — watched live coverage of innocent victims fighting for their lives. There was mass confusion as panic set in. Thousands were faced with split-second decisions: Should I stay where I am or try the fire escape? Should I run for cover here or over there? Should I help someone else — or should I just run for my life?
Meanwhile, our nation's leaders were faced with defending our country from any further attacks. Should we ground all flights? What action should we take if a 747 isn't responding properly?
Before we knew it, all reliable cell phones weren't working. The FAA couldn't account for several airplanes. The Pentagon, the hub of our nation's military and intelligence, had been hit. A plane was down in Pennsylvania, the stock market came to a halt and rescue workers found themselves defending their own lives.
Fortunately, several things also went right that day. Our leadership remained safe, our government functioned, the military performed effectively, and people throughout the world came to our aid. But the moment of horror left me a little more than shaken. My sense of security had taken a blow. It was hard to catch up with how quickly my world was changing.
The Right Focus
To this day, I can remember how everyone from news anchors to school children were offering up prayers for the victims and their families. And for a few days, the President didn't receive criticism for using the name God. Churches were full and ministers worked overtime to respond to those in need. When all else failed — people turned to God. Some came in anger and some in confusion, but most of us came with a cry for help.
It all boiled down to an issue of trust. Who, or what, do I run to when the going gets tough?
In some ways I'm proud of how far our nation has come in such a short period of time. Yet it's still a little too easy to rely on gadgets and systems. My trust is often misplaced when I depend more heavily on human knowledge than in my Creator. Yet I know that our God is jealous.
He has helped us develop the many comforts of modern life, but He doesn't want them to become a substitute for our trust in Him. What will it take to get our attention? God longs for us to come to Him every day.
I don't want to wait until I'm forced out of my comfort zone again to lean on Christ. So I'm striving to consistently let go and trust Him in every situation. Believe me, I'm not always successful. Too often pride and fear get in the way. Thankfully, our Lord is strong — and very, very patient.
And there's so much that He is teaching me. Let me leave you with three trustworthy points of encouragement:
I can trust God in the midst of a crisis. What's more, I'm discovering that I can find comfort in the fact that I'm not the one in control. I'm beginning to lean on an old, familiar truth: "'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress" (Psalm 46:10-11).
I can trust that He has not abandoned me. In times of distress I can call out to Him, and He will give me the power of the Holy Spirit. He will help me to handle whatever it is that I must face.
I can trust His Word when life feels hopeless:
"For Christ died for sins once and for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18).
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
"Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that he breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'" (John 20:21-22).
"This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world" (1 John 5:3-4).
Copyright 2008 Michael Ross. All rights reserved.