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Sometimes it seems that no matter what direction we look, we find ourselves confronted with crisis! In times like those, it is encouraging to remember that the Bible records many crisis situations faced by God’s people in the past. Best of all, it traces the remarkable things God did for His people in times of crisis.

It also tells us that these situations were placed on record for a purpose: “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

The Bible bears eloquent testimony to the fact that God never leaves His people in the lurch in times of crisis!

at the Red Sea

In Exodus 14, we find God’s people in a huge crisis. They have just been miraculously delivered after generations of slavery. Now, on their journey toward the land God has promised to give them as their inheritance, they find themselves blocked by the Red Sea. While they are pondering how they are going to get across it, they hear behind them a great commotion. Turning around, they discover, to their dismay, that the Egyptian army is sweeping down on them.

Their destruction appears imminent. They cannot go forward because the Red Sea stretches before them. They cannot turn back because the Egyptian army is rapidly advancing toward them from behind. There is no passable terrain to the right or to the left. Their only hope of deliverance is from above.

At the moment of their extremity, Moses addresses them with the heroic words, “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 will fight for you; you need only to be still” (verses 13, 14).

Those are words for our days of crisis. People’s extremity is God’s opportunity. Crisis is God’s opportunity to act. And He did! The Red Sea parted, and the Israelites crossed on dry land. Then, as the Egyptian army tried passing through, the water fell back into its place, and the enemy was destroyed.

when Goliath defied God

Another crisis situation from which we can gather courage is recorded in 1 Samuel 17. This time, it was not the Egyptians but the Philistines who were threatening God’s people. The enemy’s champion was a nine-foot giant! Day by day, he taunted the army of Israel, challenging them to send someone to fight him and shouting defiance against the God of Israel. “Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear” (verse 24).

Now, God does not always use spectacular methods to meet a crisis. He did not send out another giant who was bigger and stronger to meet Goliath. Instead, God chose a lad from the farm. David went out to confront the giant with his shepherd’s sling and five smooth stones selected from a brook, and with that simple arsenal, he gained victory.

Like the army of Israel, when we come to the end of our human resources, God remains. There are Goliaths abroad in the world today who are defying the God of heaven. They would do well to remember that David’s God is still God today, and He has ways and means of accomplishing His purposes through the most unspectacular means and in surprisingly unexpected ways.

the unseen forces of God

Another crisis is recorded in 2 Kings 6. This time, it was the Syrians threatening God’s people, including the prophet Elisha and his servant. The Bible says that “when the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord, what shall we do?’ the servant asked” (verse 15).

Elisha’s answer to his troubled servant makes a good reminder in our times of crisis:

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all round Elisha (verses 16, 17).

It’s so easy for us to forget that there are more on our side than with the enemy. It’s so easy for us to focus our attention on the forces of evil that want to eradicate the very name of God from the face of the earth. We think with dismay about the one-third of the angels of heaven who followed Satan in his rebellion against God (see Revelation 12:4, 7–9), forgetting that two-thirds of the angels remained loyal to God. That means the forces of evil bent on our destruction are outnumbered two to one!

We often hear it said that the devil is working overtime. And he certainly is. But let us not forget that God’s forces are working overtime too. Just as the forces of evil are dedicated to our destruction, the forces of right are dedicated to our salvation. And there are twice as many of them as there are of the enemy.

Christ in the furnace

Babylon was one of the great superpowers of history. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, erected an enormous image on the plain of Dura and commanded all his subjects to assemble before it. Then, the command was given for everyone to bow down and worship the image. Three of the king’s subjects refused to obey his command. They did not intend to worship any man or man-made god. Their allegiance was to God alone.

In a great rage, the king ordered that the three young rebels be thrown into a superheated flaming furnace, and his contemptuous retort was, “What god will be able to rescue you from my hand?” (Daniel 3:15).

The central character in this story, however, is neither Nebuchadnezzar nor the three nonconformists, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The central character is brought into focus by the flames:

King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”

They replied “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods” (verses 24, 25).

The fourth man the king saw was Christ Himself. The Christ of the crisis had arrived—and was with His servants in the flames!

And He is with His servants in the flames today. He will be with His servants in the flames tomorrow. He remains with His servants in the flames to the end of time.

the storm on the Sea of Galilee

Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a little boat when a terrifying storm descended on them.

The waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The desperate disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:37–41).

We all have times in our lives when we feel our hearts crying out, “Don’t you care if we drown? Lord, why don’t You do something? Are You just going to stand there with Your arms folded and watch us go under?”

This story was recorded in the Bible so that you and I might know that in the storms of life, there is One who is greater than the storm. The wind and the waves still obey Him. And when He arises and commands, “Quiet! Be still!” the winds still cease, and there is complete calm.

To us, as we go through times of crisis, Jesus says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

Be of good courage. Christ is still with you in every crisis. He protects you when the enemy’s hordes are in close pursuit. He provides just what you need when you face giants. He commands the superior angelic force. And He is with you through the fires and the storms. May He be with you in every crisis.

Geoffrey E. Garne has served as a pastor, author, editor, and administrator in Africa and Australia.

Calm in the Crisis

by Geoffrey Garne
From the January 2024 Signs