Summary: Discover the five stages in managing crisis from the example of Jesus at Gethesame
There was a time when I didn’t do know how to search the Bible for answers and comfort. During those times of crisis, I allowed my emotions to control my perspectives and my decisions.
I remember almost ten years ago praying for my Aunt, who entered the hospital. I had been a Christian for three years and the only Christian in my family at that time. I prayed and prayed, and then my aunt was released from the hospital. I rejoiced and thanked God for answering my prayer.
Two days later, my Aunt died. I was devastated. I didn’t know how to make sense of the outcome. I broke down in tears, ready to no longer believe there was a God.
We all have crisis situations in our lives. Whether we are Christians or non-Christians, we face happenings and decisions in our lives that will change our lives forever. The difference is how we manage our crisis situations.
A crisis is a crucial moment or a turning point in our lives. Often a crisis is associated with a loss, a disaster or a decision. In those moments, we will choose to trust God or to walk away from God, to stay in the marriage or to file for divorce, to pursue a dream or to give up on the dream, to live courageously or to die a coward.
When thinking about managing crisis, I thought about the most crucial moment in the history of mankind and how the main character, Jesus Christ, managed that moment. The record of that crisis moment is recorded in Matthew 26:36-56 and has been read for us already.
If I were writing a book on Crisis Management based on the how Jesus Christ handled His crisis, the following is what you would read.
Chapter One: Respect your negative emotions. Verses 36-38
By respect, I mean to give appropriate attention to dealing with emotions such as embarrassment, anger, sadness and fear. Jesus was overwhelmed with sadness in his heart. There were a number of reasons why He would be overwhelmed with sadness.
Jesus was sent by God to restore humanity’s relationship with God. And the people, whom Jesus came to help, planned His execution.
Another reason for Jesus’ great sadness was that Jesus, who was the only one to live a perfect life, would also be the one to carry the sins, shame and guilt of humanity on the cross. His death was not the death of a martyr but the death of a substitute. He died in our place and for our wrongs against God.
Finally, Jesus was troubled with great sadness, because at the moment of death for our sins, his relationship with God, the Father, would be broken. We read in Matthew 27:46, when Jesus was hanging on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
The Chinese has an old saying, "Men shed blood, but not tears." That sounds masculine, but it’s unhealthy. I would suggest that, "If men shed tears more often, they would shed blood less often."
In times of crisis, we need to give appropriate attention to dealing with our negative emotions. For a person who loses his or her job and deals with grief, fear, anger, embarrassment, anxiety or whatever other negative emotion, first, he or she will be better able to secure future employment. Otherwise, negative emotions not dealt with will interfere with his or her concentration, motivation and ability to secure a new job.
Only those who respect their negative emotions can handle their crisis clearly and courageously. When you lose your health or lose a loved one, take time to grieve the loss. When you have to make a major decision, deal with your negative emotions that are associated with the decision first, so you’ll have a clear head. When faced with a crisis, Jesus respected His negative emotion first, and so should we.
Chapter Two: Request alternatives within the will of God. Verses 39-44
The cup Jesus is referring to is the cup of suffering and death on the cross.
Jesus asked God the Father for an alternative that was still within the plan of God. Jesus didn’t just ask once; He asked three times. But His request for alternatives were always secondary, while doing God’s will was always primary.
When you or others you know are in a difficult situation, don’t assume God doesn’t want your situation changed. God does not enjoy seeing us fail or hurt anymore than a loving parent enjoys seeing his children fail or hurt.
I remember thinking about interviewing for a job, but I was unsure if I would get the job. Then a friend told me, "Go and interview. The worse that can happen is they say ’no.’ But don’t say ’no’ for them."