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Today’s Truth

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

Friend to Friend

Have you ever ridden in a helicopter? It’s the ride of a lifetime! But when you land … now that’s another story. A helicopter landing sends absolutely everything flying in a hundred different directions at ridiculously high speeds. I know. That’s how I live life.

One of the reasons I love the apostle Paul is because he seemed to live the same kind of life. Philippians is one of my favorite books written by Paul. The fourth chapter of Philippians is one of the most positive passages Paul ever wrote … and it is written in the midst of a helicopter landing in Paul’s life! Paul is in a Roman jail awaiting judgment and possible execution. He could be terrified and doubting God at this point. Instead he is writing a book about joy and peace. How in the world did he pull that off?

Life is filled with crisis. Each one of us can tell our story about a disaster we are facing or a storm we are going through. If you are a Southerland, you live from one crisis to another. That is just the way we roll.

I battle clinical depression on a daily basis.

I have Scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, arthritis and stenosis in my back.

My husband has A fib. He has had two heart ablations and 31 cardio versions.

Financial crisis as a result of the above mentioned medical adventures always seem to be lurking just around the corner.

And I won’t even get started with kids and grandkids. You are definitely not up for that today!

I know many of you have the same kind of struggles. You know what I am talking about. The fact is that all of God’s children deal with crisis. Jesus said, “It rains on the righteous and the unrighteous.” He also said “In this world you will have trouble.”

Let me share with you what I have learned about dealing with pain and crisis. Character rises to the top over time and under pressure. From that truth comes my prescription for how we get through this world and how we respond to the damage we experience in this world.

We hurt. We are deeply injured. Pain is always about proximity. We must allow our emotions to flow. We must allow the emotions of others to flow. We must realize that emotions come in a different order and on a different schedule. Some will grieve first. Others will be angry. Some will be in denial. Some will be vocal. Some will withdraw. But we all hurt. Jesus wept. He knows about hurt and hurts with us.

We guard. The passage we read from Philippians 4 talks about “guarding your hearts and minds.” That is an important word for us when we face a crisis.

Guard your heart from despair. I know your heart is broken. People you love and trust have betrayed you. Your God is still with you. He will never leave you or betray you. The enemy will whisper to you that you are going down. That may be his goal, but it is not God’s plan.

Guard your heart from retreat. We are tempted to use pain and hurt as an excuse to abandon the plan to which God has called us. It is so much easier to simply give up. I know. There have been times when I have literally and figuratively pulled the covers over my head and told God to just go away. It didn’t work. He loves me too much, and He loves you too much to let you give up. He will, however, give you time to heal – not retreat.

It’s funny. Looking back, what I thought would be the biggest disasters in my life turned out to be the most magnificent victories. The mess in the messenger does not negate the message. God uses messed up people.

There is a scene at the end of the movie Apollo 13 that I love. The head of NASA is talking to the press secretary, listing all of the things that have gone wrong with the spacecraft. The head of NASA concludes by saying, “This could be the greatest disaster in NASA’s history.”

The flight director overhears the conversation, turns to the two men, and says, “I believe this will be NASA’s finest hour.”

You may feel that whatever crisis you are facing could be the greatest disaster in your life. That would be the enemy’s plan. Or it can be the finest hour of your life. That would be God’s plan. It is your choice.

Let’s Pray

Father, please forgive me for wanting to give up and turn away from You. I am so tired and so hurt. Please give me the strength to go on. Today, I choose Your healing power to work in my life. I will guard my heart against bitterness and anger. I will not retreat. I choose to believe that the pain of today is the foundation of tomorrow’s victory.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What crisis are you going through today? Can you see how God can use this mess to create a new message in you? What would that message be? Record your thoughts in your journal.

More from the Girlfriends

It is hard to trust God when you are going through difficult times. Need help? Get Mary’s new MP3 download, Four Steps to an Unshakable Faith for practical ways to trust God in your daily life. Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

13 Responses to “God Shows Up in a Crisis”

  1. Lihle says:

    I have been subscribed to this website for quite sometime now. And i must say i am very greatfull for all the messages im getting hear. In everything that i am going through in my marriage, your messages are keeping me strong and hopefull. And im always looking forward to another one the next day.

    May God blesses you abundantly.

  2. Patricia says:

    Thank you Mary for this devotion it is just what I needed today! My husband is a pastor and we have been under attack by evil. I know my husband is a true man of God and he did what was right to protect the church. Praise God for your words of encouragement today!!

  3. Darlene says:

    God is so smart! You can not imagine how appropriate your devotion was for me this morning. We just found out yesterday we owe the IRS $20000.in this years taxes. Just because we used our savings to build a house. Thank you for setting my mind in the right direction. I know God has this. And his plans are always better than mine.

  4. Nancy says:

    Thank you Mary, my 45 year marriage just necessarily ended and Imam on my own at age 68. I am often afraid, but Deep in my heart I know God has a plan and as long as Imkeep my eyes on Him I know I will survive.

  5. Abby says:

    Thank you Mary. Your message was what I needed to hear today. I also suffer from depression which is usually under control. However, two months ago it came back and won’t go away. I am clinging to Psalm 34:18. No one understands depression unless they have been through it. It’s something that people think you can snap out of and shouldn’t be depressed to begin with. Thank you for your encouraging words.

  6. Kelly says:

    I woke up this morning hearing read your GIF today. Amazing message. I needed it.

    After 17 yrs of thinking I have MS, I was told that they can’t confirm that earlier diagnosis. I have been struggling for three months thinking it was a flare. The second one in less than a year. I have been praying for the patience and strength to follow God’s plan that I know He has, but it’s difficult.

    Wheelchairs and walkers, being gone from my job, and the limbo of -“Is this my new normal?”- plagues the back of my mind. I keep having the picture in my mind of Jesus holding out his hand standing in the open water to me while I sit in the boat- ” Kelly, will you walk with me?”.

    My faith has been tested before. Why am I having such a hard time now?

  7. Linda says:

    Thank you so much! Have recently been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – as a widow it is difficult to deal with the pain and the treatments and the uncertainty of my physical future.
    Thinking “my finest hour” rather than my greatest disaster will be so helpful getting through this season.
    I offer my prayers for my sisters who have commented before me.

  8. Charlene says:

    oh Mary…your words resonate to the spiritual core of me. I connect with your personal struggles, so well.After, what seems like, a very long drought, I am on my way back to the Savior, stronger, wiser and full of his grace. Thank you for your work, your ministry and your openness in sharing your life with us. In Jesus,
    Charlene

  9. Kathy M says:

    This is a very timely message! I have several chronic pain syndromes and some days I just want all the pain to go away. I remind myself of your message here that today’s pain is tomorrow’s victory. I also ask the Lord to forgive me when I am impatient with His timing. May God bless you today.

  10. Dot says:

    Thank you so much for your ministry because God is speaking to me through this message. Mental illness is such a tough disease. You receive more fear than sympathy. My brother is suffering from mental issues and had to be admitted to an inpatient facility last week. He is having hallucinations, thinks we are against him (and everyone) and talking out of his head, which is scary for him and devastating for us to have to watch him endure. Mental health inpatient facilities are also not great places and it is so hard for us to see him there and we worry about his safety. He seems to be getting worse, which is the most difficult. My mom is really having a tough time too.

    I have faith that God will provide, but that faith was so low today that your message helped me to know that God is here for me and can make this awful experience, our finest hour. I don’t see how right now, bc it looks impossible, but I know He will!! Please pray for our patience and peace and his safety and quick recovery.

  11. Seda says:

    Well said, Mary. Thanks for the encouragement. Going to forward this to a friend. Thank you for your wonderful blog entries and will be praying for your health and your husband’s. God bless you and yours…

    Love, Seda

  12. NLH says:

    Powerful words. God is truly amazing and faith without works is dead. #PrayWithoutCeasing #Faith #Trust #Believe #Patience … those are my mantras.
    Thank you for your continued inspiration. GiG has been my devotional for over 10 years. God’s blessing to you and the rest of the GiG ladies!

  13. Susan says:

    Mary, thank you for this. God led me in a roundabout way to your message. It could only have been God. Today my depression lays heavy on my heart and soul. I needed to know that you suffer too and I’m not alone in my struggle. Thank you.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8