Summary: Paul came out of his crises even stronger in faith, courage, hope, and credibility. Every crisis that you pass through will either make you bitter or better - the choice is up to you!
How Paul the Apostle Handled Crises
Illustration: Test pilots have a litmus test for evaluating problems. When something goes wrong, they ask, "Is this thing still flying?" If the answer is yes, then there’s no immediate danger, no need to overreact. When Apollo 12 took off, the spacecraft was hit by lightning. The entire console began to glow with orange and red trouble lights. There was a temptation to "Do Something!" But the pilots asked themselves, "Is this thing still flying in the right direction?" The answer was yes--it was headed for the moon. They let the lights glow as they addressed the individual problems, and watched orange and red lights blink out, one by one. That’s something to think about in any pressure situation. If your thing is still flying, think first, and then act.
Capt. Alan Bean, USN, Apollo Astronaut, in Reader’s Digest.
Many crisis coping skills can be distilled from the way Paul responded to problems. In Acts 27 we find Paul is on his way to face the judgment of the Roman Emperor Caesar aboard a prison ship. Suddenly, a terrible a storm rages. After three days everyone on board despairs of life. Just as everyone runs out of food, Paul stand up and shouts,
"Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of God told me, ’Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He said." (Acts 27:21-25)
Paul’s Principles of Handling Crises
1. Paul prepared himself to pay any price to do God’s will - He said, "I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me." (Acts 20:24)
2. Paul was not deterred by warnings that he would be bound and imprisoned if he went to Jerusalem, but he said to them, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 21:13) Be determined to follow Jesus at all costs.
Illustration: Rules for crisis management:
1) Hope for the best, bur prepare for the worst.
2) Look first, then act.
3) When you do act, act aggressively.
4) Seek help.
5) Don’t get locked on a detail.
6) No matter how bad things get, be truthful.
7) Look for the silver lining. Reynolds
Dodson, Reader’s Digest, June, 1992.
3. Paul used his wrongful imprisonment to gain greater opportunities to proclaim Christ to people who might have heard of Him before. Always look at the positive ways that God can turn a tragedy into His triumphs
4. Paul realized that even if he could not alter his circumstances he could control his perceptions, attitudes and responses to the situation. Only a small fraction of all of our fears are legitimate. Fear can actually be described as F-E-A-R (Faulty - Expectations - Assumptions - of Reality)
5. Paul took a realistic look at the situation and realized that God’s will would be done even if the ship were to sink. Many people rush into wrong assumptions when faced with crisis and prematurely despair.
6. Paul picked his battles. Do not think that you have to fight every battle that comes along.
7. Paul refused to give into unbelief choosing instead to use the situation to grow in faith. Just like Abraham, Paul staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but grew strong in faith being fully persuaded that what God had promised He was also able to perform. (Romans 4:20,21)
8. Paul did not let his imaginations and subjective anxieties cloud his objective belief in God’s truth. So many people allow their subjective feelings to obscure their ability to act on God’s facts.
9. Paul analyzed his resources encouraging others to take courage in the facts God had given to him. When you are sure of your facts do not let anything, anyone or any problem deter you from the truth.
10. Paul did not let people discouraged him. Many will try to break your heart. Do not let them.
11. Paul focused on serving others during the crises so he concentrated on helping others. This automatically took his mind off his own problems. Paul followed Christ’s example. Jesus did not come to serve, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)