The Path of Life: “Crisis”

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Worship: Safety



Imagine you are aboard a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, out of sight of land. The boat loses power and starts sinking. That would be a crisis. Immediately you would set your Crisis Plan into motion and go through the steps to save your life or maybe even the boat itself.

Wait. You don’t have a Crisis Plan? What are you doing out in a boat in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico without a Crisis Plan?

Pardon the cliché but each of us is like a boat on the big water, out of sight of land. As long as the boat keeps the water out and keeps moving, we feel safe even if we don’t know where we are going. Any disturbance of that delicately balanced scenario could create a crisis: heavy seas, high winds, loss of power, a hole in the hull, a sudden squall, a great white whale…anything.

And then we need a plan.

The Poet had a Crisis Plan: he would call on God.

“Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you;
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
Incline your ear to me; when I call, make haste to answer me”

Not bad. Not bad at all!

OK, what then?

I suppose God would provide the details of the plan from that point. He’s good at that since nothing surprises Him.

The sea we sail on is a dangerous one. The forces of nature must be dealt with as they arise Comfort in the journey is only found when we have confidence in the craft, the captain, the cargo, and the course.

The Craft

Old songs called the Church, “The Old Ship of Zion” and that is a viable metaphor. If we looked to the Bible we might see the Ark of Noah as a meaningful picture of salvation—“the Ark of Safety,” I heard the old-time preachers say. Choose your craft, but the Salvation we enjoy is made for the crisis. It is more than a fair weather vessel. We have seen up close how others in the same boat have weathered the most severe storms to stay on course if not on schedule.

And we have, too.

We are ready for any crisis on this journey:

  • The Captain is Jesus—nothing else needs to be said.
  • The Cargo is life-changing truth—impervious to shifting external forces or internal decay.
  • The Course is the heavenly realms—just over in the Glory Land!

So we need not fear the crisis for we have a proven plan—call on Jesus!

Our captain is up to the crisis. Our craft is built for heavy seas and our cargo is safe. We will stay on course, as the old song says, “Whate’er betide!”


Psalm 102
Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble. Incline your ear to me; when I call, make haste to answer me, For my days drift away like smoke, and my bones are hot as burning coals. My heart is smitten like grass and withered, so that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the voice of my groaning I am but skin and bones. I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake and groan; I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top. My enemies revile me all day long, and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me. For I have eaten ashes for bread and mingled my drink with weeping. Because of your indignation and wrath you have lifted me up and thrown me away. My days pass away like a shadow, and I wither like the grass.

But you, O Lord, endure for ever, and your Name from age to age. You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to have mercy upon her; indeed, the appointed time has come. For your servants love her very rubble, and are moved to pity even for her dust. The nations shall fear your Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth your glory. For the Lord will build up Zion, and his glory will appear. He will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; he will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord.

For the Lord looked down from his holy place on high; from the heavens he beheld the earth; That he might hear the groan of the captive and set free those condemned to die; That they may declare in Zion the Name of the Lord, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms also, to serve the Lord. He has brought down my strength before my time; he has shortened the number of my days; And I said, “O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years endure throughout all generations.

In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; They shall perish, but you will endure; they all shall wear out like a garment; as clothing you will change them, and they shall be changed; But you are always the same, and your years will never end. The children of your servants shall continue, and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”

Genesis 7:6-8 NIV
Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.

Mark 4:35-41 NIV
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The 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!”

Song for the Crisis
I Must Tell Jesus
Composer: Elizabeth Hoffman 20th Century

1.I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and care for His own.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

2.I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;
He is a kind, compassionate friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
Make of my troubles quickly an end.


3.Tempted and tried, I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share.


4.O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!
I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
Over the world the victory win.


Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

The Path of Life: "Crisis"

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