By: James Wood
You just had one of the best weeks of your life. A few days prior, you accepted a new job with a company that is doubling your salary; allowing you to work remotely from home and giving you the opportunity to make a great living. After a quick conversation with your spouse (quick because all you really have to say is “double the salary”) you accept the offer, and you spend the next few days punching numbers on a calculator; dreaming about the possibilities. So, the great week begins. It’s week one of the new job: you’re in training, learning, and preparing to take the world by storm. Fast forward to Friday: you’re in a quick meeting with your manger going over some final details, and then you’re off. For the next 3 hours on your ride home, all you’re thinking about is how good the next year is going to be; how you’re going to be 100% ready to roll by Monday morning. All is right with the world – and then 20 minutes from home, your phone rings. It’s your manager, and he simply says, “I’m sorry, but when I got back to the office the owner and CEO told me that we cannot fulfill your contract. We will not be bringing you onboard. But thanks for the week!” Hasta la vista baby! No explanation. No reasoning. No job.
So after you pick yourself up off of the floor, what do you do? Well, I sat with my wife Casey. We asked lots of questions, prayed, she hugged me, kissed my forehead, and said it’s all going to be okay. Two days later, I was on the road traveling for hours and launching a business. I proceeded to build a pipeline that would provide a significant amount of cash flow to my family over the next few months. We’re back! All is right in the world once again… and then COVID-19 hits. All of our business is put on hold and we have zero cash flow or income for the foreseeable future.
It is during times like this that we cry out to God for help and ask, “Where is God when I need Him the most?”
If you’ve ever experienced this roller coaster called life, then you’ve probably thought or said something like, “Where are you God? Can I just get a break?”
So in the midst of chaos and crisis, how do we exercise our faith and experience our heart’s desires? Faith, in its simplest definition, means confidence. One of the most common scripture references for faith is found in the Book of Hebrews:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Saint Augustine said, “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of faith is to see what you believe.”
In times of crisis, it is natural to be worried, nervous, and at certain times afraid. When all hope for something better seems lost, and there are no signs pointing to a swift resolution, we can allow fear to become our dominant thought. You may have heard that the acronym “F.E.A.R.” means “False Evidence Appearing Real”. I like to say that fear is having faith that something will go wrong, or get worse. When your back is against the proverbial wall and you are at the end of your rope, I want to encourage you to choose faith over fear. You see, both faith and fear require you to believe in something that doesn’t exist. We either focus on fearful possibilities or we choose to live through faith, believing and placing our confidence in something good and positive; something that we actually want.
Crisis in Greek is krisis, meaning “the turning point in disease.” Therefore, a crisis is an opportunity to get better or worse. Kind of like a crossroads, or a fork in the road. Basically it means we have a choice; an opportunity to side with your “dis – ease” (that thing or situation that appears to cause you all sorts of problems) or to choose faith over fear.
President John F. Kennedy said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In crisis, be aware of the danger, but always recognize the opportunity.”
Whenever we are faced with what seems like insurmountable odds, it is always time for a decision. Whether we like it or not, staying stuck, whining and feeling sorry for ourselves will not fix our challenge. Moreover, if it continues for too long, not many people are going to be knocking on your door to hang out. I am not trying to make light of hard times or the sadness that comes from these hard times. But from firsthand experience and countless trials & tribulations, I can tell with great confidence that you do have a choice. You can choose life or death. Victory or defeat. Joy or sadness. But the only person who is able to choose is you.
So here’s a golden nugget of advice; make a decision:
• Decide to adjust your attitude. As my brother Mark would say, “Get a check up from the neck up”.
• Decide to focus on what you are grateful for and what causes peace & love in your life. Sometimes our fastest route to something new & better is becoming aware of what we already have and experiencing the elevated emotions of love, joy and peace.
• Decide what you want. Remember, faith is believing in something that you can’t see in the physical. But when you can see it inside of your mind and in your heart – it’s yours!
It is vital for us to understand that where we place our attention matters. You see, whatever we focus on will expand. Wherever we put our attention to, its energy increases, and we literally create & experience more of what we focus on. If we focus on joy, we tend to experience more joy. If we focus on worry, stress, fear, and all of the current and potential problems that may arise, then we are literally creating more of the same.
Remember this saying: “When you’re going through hell, don’t stop and take pictures”. If we can remind ourselves that crisis in the Greek is the moment we get to choose the direction that we will go, and if we get to choose victory over defeat or life over death, then it is my hope & prayer that we choose life.
Once you’ve made the decision to be grateful and to paint a new picture of what you want, it is crucial that I help you understand a very important truth. When I first learned this revelation it radically transformed my life. My confidence in believing that what appeared to be impossible was not just possible, but was certain, grew. If you’re anything like me, you grew up believing that God was somewhere way off in the cosmos; up in Heaven sitting on His throne and I had to pound on the gates of Heaven to get His attention. Here’s the eye-opening truth that rocked my world. “The bible says that the Father is in Heaven, and the bible says that the Father is in you. So, if the Father is in Heaven and the Father is in you – then where is Heaven?” That’s right, Heaven is in you and you don’t have to pray long and hard to get the Father’s attention because wherever you are, there He is. Wherever you are there is the miracle-working power of the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, “Do not look out there for the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom of God is within”. One of my favorite songs does a great job in describing just how close the Father is. The song is called “Communion” by Maverick City Tribl Worship, featuring Brandon Lake & Steffany Gretzinger. Here is a small sampling of the lyrics:
“And it was all so simple. You’re so easy to love No space between us, You’re so easy to trust Cause You are closer, closer than my skin You are in the air I’m breathing in Here’s where the dead things come back to living – I feel my heart beating again. It feels so good to know that You’re my friend.”
So when crisis strikes, choose faith over fear. Decide what you want, take a deep breath, and plant the seed of your desire in your heart. Focus on the picture you desire and feel as though the picture you painted is a reality today. In John 16:23-24, 26 (King James’ version), if you read the original Aramaic text there are two sentences that were removed from our modern translation. If you read the original text, this is how it would read:
“Ask without hidden motive, and be surrounded by your answer, be enveloped by what you desire, that your gladness be full.”
Decide what you want. Ask the Father and know that if you can hear your voice, so can He. Ask “without hidden motive”, which means do not make judgements or attempt to know how it will come to pass. Surround or encompass yourself in your answer, your outcome, or what you are asking for, and be fully enveloped or immersed in the feelings/emotions of it. Consider it as already finished and your gladness shall be (and already is) full!