Recently, a talented young Hollywood actor lost his life in a freak car accident. A musician from my church was taken ill with a freak health condition and died within weeks. Just a few miles away, Southern California wildfires are burning up the hillsides because of a freak triple digit heat wave.
Sometimes, out of nowhere, disaster strikes and you never see it coming. What are we to do?
In the Old Testament, we read of Job who experiences a merciless series of consecutive calamities that strip him of his wealth, position, home, children, health, and community within a matter of days. Though utterly devastated, Job cries out,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
~ Job 1:21
What a perspective!
Times of Testing
I was twelve when my mother died in a freak airplane accident. I just went numb from shock and grief. A few years ago, when I was in a boating accident off Anacapa Island and nearly drowned, I felt frozen and helpless. In 2012, when my husband was diagnosed with deadly bladder cancer and the doctors said his condition was hopeless, I could hardly breathe much less think. (He’s now completely healed! You can read about our amazing deliverance with natural therapies at http://www.healedhealthyandhwole.com)
Do you remember how you reacted in when a crisis hit? I’m sure few of us lift praises to heaven in surrender to God’s sovereign will. Most of us will experience trauma, confusion and acute distress.
Having been through these and other challenges over the years, I have developed some insights about what to do when our world suddenly gets turned upside down. I hope you find these helpful:
- God is present. No matter how chaotic it is, remember that God is still there and keenly present. A simple “Oh, Jesus, help me!” will instantly activate heavenly resources on your behalf. You can wrestle later with why He allowed this crisis in your life, but for now, you need emergency aid!
- Get others to start praying. Send an email blast, ask a Christian friend or contact a church member to mobilize others to intercede for you and your loved ones. Prayer support will sustain you, help clear the fog and give you the strength to do whatever is necessary in your situation.
- Get enough rest. You will be impaired from making the best decisions if you are strung out and sleep deprived. Ask your doctor for something safe to help you sleep, if you need it, and make sure you take it.
- Hydrate properly. Staying properly hydrated is always important for optimal health, but is especially true when you are experiencing high stress levels. Drinking 6-8 glasses off water a day will help flush out the toxins in your system, help your brain think more clearly and give your body the hydration it needs to function under pressure. Also cut down on the sugar and caffeine, if possible, to avoid insulin spikes and crashes that will negatively impact your mood. Needless to say, alcohol is not a wise choice right now, either.
- Take a buddy. If your situation involves doctor visits, always take someone with you who is able to clearly remember the input and instructions, and write them down for you. If you absolutely must go by yourself, record the conversation on your mobile phone– and tell your doctor why you’re doing it so he/she understands what your intentions are.
- Hope and Support. Any crisis or chronic illness triggers a flood of conflicting emotions. If the challenge is very great, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, fearful and/or depressed. Find at least one person (several, if possible) that you feel safe processing your feelings with. Consider professional counseling if necessary. Hope is a powerful aid for healing and recovery, and a great help for wise decision-making.
- Ask for help. If you need assistance with transportation, meal preparation, family support, pet feeding, and/or the other rituals of everyday life, reach out and ask for it. This is no time to feel embarrassed or too proud. Let others help you with these daily routines until you can start coping again. Contact your church, if necessary, and tell them of your need.
You Are Not Alone
Trials may vary in intensity and circumstances, but they are part of all our lives. The Lord uses suffering to prepare us for heaven. All we can do is navigate the storms as best we can, with the help of experts, family and friends. Through it all, God assures us that He is by our side and ready to unleash all manner of divine resources to assist and sustain us.
Author, speaker and evangelist Anne Grahm Lotz recently recounted how she came home one day and found her husband unresponsive in their pool. As the hospital staff executed emergency measures, she was flooded with God’s supernatural peace that allowed her and the family to make some excruciatingly difficult life and death decisions.
Today, if you or someone you love is facing a crisis, call out to God first and then your community of helpers. Let yourself feel supported and cared for until the storm passes. We were not made to be alone, especially during the dark times. Remember, God knows and He cares.
Call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you and you will honor me.
~ Psalm 50:15