People experience large or small numerous difficulties and crisis, both personal and social, throughout their lives. For these situations, no one is excepted. Therefore, we should know what the cause is and how to deal with it, so we may prevent these occurences as much as possible and be able to change disaster into blessing with our all might. The rise and fall, prosperity and decay of a society or a person doesn't depend on the frequency of difficulties and crisis, but on how we deal with them. In the Bible, uncomparable wisdom and lessons about this are recorded.
Now, let's get to the lessons of today and the main scripture.
First, I will discuss the causes of difficulty and crisis that come to us.
Sometimes, there is the case of a crisis happening as the natural consequences of one's own deed. The reasons lie in neglected attitude towards life, carelessness and mistakes of arrogance, stubborness, or excessive self-confidence. The reality is that our country's economic crisis, arrogance and excessive self-confidence of the government and people are the biggest cause of problems in Korea at this time. Did you not see the waste of many before this time, who now do not waste because they cannot afford to when they should never have wasted in the first place? God did not put us on this Earth to waste. We were to be the stewards, the kindful masters, of all Creatures and all Lands. Prosperity has led some people to treat others as though they are less of humans, and not as good as themselves - and yet God told us "All are judged equal under the eyes of God". Today's main scripture says " If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! The danger of prosperity lies in that it is very easy for human beings to become arrogant and be self-indulgent, and to forget God and his many great messages to us.
Sometimes, there is a the case of outside factors which we cannot manage causing a crisis. For natural disasters and unintended accidents, the cause can be out of our control, or there can be national and social reasons. And there are cases where the reasons are mixed and/or cannot be explained simply. The trial of Job is an example of this.
In the land of Uz, there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright. He had 10 children and he owned much prosperity, animals and servants. But one day, to him, disasters started to came. In only one day, he became penniless and lost all his children. Not only that, but also he was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. He took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. During these trials, his wife threw him away and left him. It is not easy to comprehend the reasons why these crisis came to the person like Job.
So, to our lives come big or small difficulties and crisis, whether caused by ourselves or an outside factor. By both complicated reasons or unexplicable causes, these problems come to everyone.
Now, I will tell how to deal with the difficulties and crisis which we face in life.
We must not frustate or give ourselves up to other forces. The Bible says " No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it"
God promised two kinds of help to us who are in difficulty and crisis. He said that he would provide a way out. The Israelites came out Egypt by the leadership of Moses. When they arrived at the Red Sea, they could not go further. At that time, the Egyptians-all of the Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops-pursued the Israelites. The Israelites who saw this were embarassed because they did not know what to do. At that time Moses said to the people, " Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again" The Lord said to Moses, " Tell the Isaelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water". Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and a strange thing happened. All through that night, the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. When the Egyptians saw this great scene. they pursued them, and all Phraoh's horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. The Lord threw the Egyptian army into confusion. he made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty moving. As soon as Moses stretched his hand over the sea, the sea went back to its place and the Egyptian soldiers were drowned in the sea. God provides the way out from crisis for his people.
And He said that he would provide a way for the people to stand up under it. The Philistines attacked the Israelites. King Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped. A champion named Goliath came out of the Philistine camp and defied Israel. On hearing of the Philistine's huge body and strong words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. Everyday Goliath went out, but there was no one who went out to fight against him. At that time, a boy David saw this scene. He went out to fight against Goliath with the King's approval. He dressed himself in the clothes of a shepherd and chose five smooth stones, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and stood before Goliath grandly. He slung a stone and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground. When the Philisines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran. At last, Israel had conquered supremely. David was very weak to the extent that he was not able to be compared to Goliath in size of body or power. However, God gave to David the power to do what needed to be done.
And the Bible says " God is faithful". Therefore, we should believe in his faithfulness and rely on it. God's promise to us never changes. God's love never changes and God's power never changes. So when we are in difficulty and crisis, we must not get frustrated nor give ourselves up. Rather, we should go forward with boldness and strength.
When we face difficulty and crisis, we should turn them into beneficial chances. We should make it a chance to throw away arrogance and to repent our unfaithful life. Revelation 'Chapter 3' says in the letter to Laodicea Church " You say, ' I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful. poor. blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear. so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on you eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent." Because God is abundant in grace and love, he gives blessing to the people who throughly repent.
There times when crisis comes even though we live in fear of God and by following the word of God. During those times, please make it a chance to show that you love God and rely on God, without losing your faith during the most difficult situations. Make it a chance to witness the greatness of faith to fear God for the unbelievers, and to show an example of faith to believers and to glorify God. James 1;12 says "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." When difficulties and crisis come to the people who fear God, we should know that God wants to make it a chance to show that he is right for all the world and have patience. And after that, God opens the door of heaven and blesses us and give us that crown.
The difficulties and crisis which come to our lives are not always bad. If the trials which we experience become a stimulation for personal development and plays the role of a catalyzer for the improvement of our faith, it is a beneficial thing.
Dr. Byung Pal Yoo, who is the team leader of the worldwide aging research center at the Health Science Center of Texas State University explained the relationship between stress and aging in his book. There is a word, Hormesis. When the effect of stress is too strong, it brings a bad result , but when it is an appropriate stimulation that brings a beneficial result, this is hormesis. He said that "In the end result, the stress, according to how we accept it or not, can produce excessive stress or a hormesis status. In other words, the method of changing stress to hormesis is a subject for ourselves and it is helpful to a long life". He made the decision that stress can be a factor which lets us go forward to both aging and disease and early death, and also can be the appropriate stimulation to health and long life. The difficulties and crisis which come to our lives are similiar. Because of this, if we repent and take a humble attitude towards life, have faith in God and rely on God more, the difficulties and crisis of our lives will become a beneficial factor, both physically and spiritually.
My dear friends, because the economy of our nation is in crisis, all people face many kinds of difficulties. At this time, please do not fall into grudges or disputes with others, frustration and disappointment, and make it your chance to change disaster into happiness by correcting the attitude of our lives and trusting God deeply. " No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it". I hope all of you may hold this word and go forward in the name of Jesus.