Peace in the midst of Crisis
Be still, and know that I am God.
-Rev. Melissa Fain-
Some of us will never truly know crisis. I also know there are certain levels of crisis I don't personally understand. Even if I have been a nomad, I've never been homeless. I've never worked through severe addiction, and the brokenness such dependencies can cause. Even speaking from my understanding of crisis, I'm not all knowing. I do, however, know a thing or two about crisis. I do know what it feels like to have that sudden feeling of losing control, and the anxiety, depression and hopelessness that comes with it. Now that I've lived through it, I can't go back. I will forever be changed. Therefore, know that I know what I'm talking about. To make sure everyone is included, I'm going to give an off the wall story to help us understand.
Imagine you are hiking. You don't like hiking? Well, pretend you do. Maybe you are doing this for a pal you really respect, and you just want to make that person feel better. You and this pal decide to do a trail not a lot of people do. It's off the beaten path, but has this beautiful view when you get to the end. Well, the two of you are walking when a boar comes out of the woods and gores you. Seriously, out of no where this boar just runs through and jabs you with his tusks!
Your first thought might be, "Well, that just sucks. These are new pants and everything." This you would only feel for a moment, because of the intense pain of being gored, followed by the steady blood loss. You, my friend, are officially in crisis. No need to thank me. It's my duty to lead you through these big stages in your life.
When one is in crisis there is an immediate need to do anything but stay calm. Some naturally try to flee. Some attempt to fight. Others freeze. Those are great responses based on a time when our natural instincts kicked in to take care of us. In many ways, our natural responses can act against us today. Like freezing might be great if you want to blend into your surroundings so a giant man eating monster doesn't eat you. Freezing is not so great when you have a giant gash in your leg, and you need to act before you bleed out. Or to use a more reasonable analogy, it doesn't help to freeze when the situation is crisis in a church or work setting.
That's when our Psalm steps in with radical advice. We love our Psalm 46:10. We sing it in church, we pray it in contemplation. We typically go to it in moments of calm. Reading the entire Psalm paints an entirely different picture. The verses above verse 10 talk about mountains crumbling into the sea, worlds falling apart and general destruction. This Psalm is the epitome of crisis. What do we do when the world around us is burning?
God is our refuge and strength, our very help in times of trouble.
"Be still, and now that I am God."
Psalm 46:1,10 NRSV
I've been certified a few times in first aid and CPR. One of the first lessons we learn in training is, stay calm. It's in staying calm a first responder can do the three C's: Check-Call-Care. (Check the scene for anything dangerous. Call for help. Care for the victim.) Speaking as someone who has been a situation where I needed to do CPR, and first aid: Those first times you get into those situations, calm is one of the hardest steps to overcome.
When I hear this scripture I imagine the world burning to the ground. In that moment, calm comes because it's God saying, "Hey, you're not alone. Calm down." We can be God's hands and feed, when we know it's God's power that moves us.
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