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How to Face Crisis, a Life-Changing Experience

Face of woman praying to overcome a life-changing experience.

Sir Isaac Newton postulated in his Third Law of Motion, that in every interaction there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. He said the size of the forces on the interacting the objects will be the same.

This idea is also central to the law of Karma, which states that when we speak, act and even think, we begin a force that reacts accordingly and returns to us in some way, kind of a natural boomerang or “tit for tat.”

In life, our experiences do affect the way we react. And the way we react does affect the way we experience. This is a fundamental circular life process that begins in the womb.

How does this apply to the way we experience life-changing situations, crises that cause us to turn from our everyday concerns and ask deep questions about who we are, why we are here, what is the meaning of life?

God Is the Great Equalizing Force

It could be the death of a loved one, a near death experience, loss of a long-time job, word of a terminal illness, or a destructive hurricane or tragic terrorist attack. These traumatic experiences bring us before the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual mirror of our lives and invite us to stare into it, painfully deep into it. In some cases, we even get angry with God and question our faith, leading us further down a dark hole in guilt.

How we effectively react to the initial trauma and recover from its effects over time depends on many factors, including how we have experienced and reacted to other life-changing experiences, and the support system we have in place, especially our relationship with God.

Who else but the Lord our God is equal to helping us at these times. He is the great equalizing force that can help us navigate through and survive life’s traumas that fundamentally change us and the way we react to future experiences.

Need to Appreciate the Significance of Crisis

We all react differently to these types of experiences that can deeply affect us for weeks, months or even years. If we ignore the significance of the experiences all together, perhaps brushing them off as bumps in the road as we go on with our life, or even denying they happened, this could initially work as an unconscious defensive reaction.

Professionals in the field of personal, emergency, and group crisis management suggest the first step in the process of recovering from a traumatic experience and eventually positively living a “new normal,” regardless of what happened, is to face the fact that it happened and that your reaction to it is “normal.” This is called normalizing the experience.

A Time to Turn to God

Crisis volunteers and professionals who serve on the ground or spend time in counseling sessions will also suggest how even non-believers, when in the throes of the crisis, will often turn to God, even if only in supplication and anger.

Finally, as believers, we understand that God’s promises in his Word unequivocally state he will equalize the effects of any force that comes against us, natural or supernatural. With the Lord Jesus in our hearts and the Holy Spirit at our side, we can weather and even benefit from any storm life sends our way as an opportunity to personally grow and to grow closer to him.

Additional reading:

Listen to God's Words

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Also read: Psalm 23:1-6, John 14:1, Philippians 4:6-6

In the Words of Others

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through the horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” Eleanor Roosevelt

When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters…one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. John F. Kennedy

Think About It

  • Have you had what you considered to be a significant crisis, a life-changing experience? What are the details? What was your immediate reaction to the experience?

  • Did the experience change your life? Was it a positive or negative influence? How do you think this experience affected the way you would react to other life-changing experiences?

  • What role did God play in how you reacted to the experience? Even if you may have been initially angry with God, how did he help you?

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