Matt Sturdevant: When I started my very first job out of college, my first real job, and I know you know what I’m talking about...I realized very quickly that even though I had a degree in marketing, I didn’t really know much about sales, and I certainly didn’t know anything about this technical product that I had been hired to sell. I want to ask you to think for just a moment. Think back to a time in your life when you experienced growth. Growth can happen in a lot of different ways. It can be physical growth; it can be spiritual growth. It can be emotional growth or knowledge, intellectual growth. I want you to think back to a time when you can look back and say, “Yes, I experienced growth at this time.” Think, just for a moment, about what that time looked like. What was going on in your life? What was going on in you and around you? What kinds of things were happening in order to facilitate that growth? Take just a moment and go back to that place in your past.
For me, I remember spending hours upon hours in front of my computer and in front of these machines and reading technical journals and manuals until I thought my eyes were going to be crossed and my head was going to explode. Also back then, I had hair. I spent so much time, probably about a 3-4 month period, just really investing in learning the stuff that I had to learn in order to do the job that I had been hired to do. What I found though was that after putting in the hard work, after sacrificing some sleep and sacrificing just doing maybe some other things that were frankly more enjoyable, I actually began to know what I needed to know. I learned what I needed to and found that I enjoyed what it was that I was doing. I enjoyed selling, and I was actually pretty good at it.
I can imagine that for most of us when we think back to that time where we grew, we would say that it was marked with at least some discomfort. For most of us, it was probably more than just discomfort. There could actually have been real pain or difficulty that we had to endure while we were experiencing that growth because it takes effort. It takes energy; it takes experiences for us to actually really grow. Although we don’t really like the pain and the discomfort and all that is involved while we’re going through it, we’re certainly grateful for the other side for the product or the person who we’ve become when we get past that time and that moment. If that’s true for you and you can relate to what I just said about experiencing growth after some type of pain and discomfort, would you just let us know in the chat if you're watching during one of the services where we have the chat feature open? Say, “amen” or put a fist bump or a thumbs up or a “yes,” or a something, and let us know if that has been your experience.
Last week we started our conversation talking about growing through crisis. I shared a pretty significant crisis that I walked through in my own life when I was age 14. We talked about the fact that the really big challenge for all of us when we’re in crisis is to not just go through it but to actually grow through it. Regardless of the circumstances that we’re in, regardless of what’s happening in the world around us and all the things that we just can’t control, there is one thing that we can control. We can control our response. We can control our thoughts, our attitudes, our actions, and the words that we choose to speak in the middle of that crisis. Last week, we looked at three myths that are sort of behind getting in the way of us growing when we go through the crisis. We talked about some things not to do when we’re in the middle of crisis.
If you missed last week’s message, I want to invite you to go to our website, hopechurch.com. You can also check out the message on YouTube, or check it out on our Hope Church podcasts and hear everything we talked about last week because today is a continuation of last week. We’re going to look at part two of Growing Through Crisis. This week I specifically want to look at how God might be using the crisis we find ourselves in and what are some next steps that we can take in the middle of the crisis regardless of what the crisis is. That’s what we’re going to take a look at today.
As we continue this conversation and we think about what God might be doing in the middle of the crisis that we’re going through and how we can take steps, I want to share a couple passages from Scripture with you. Frankly, the first time that I read them, actually the first few times that I read them, I thought that they were really difficult and really challenging. But over time as I’ve come to understand what they’re really talking about, I have much appreciation for them. In fact, they’re what give me peace and comfort and energy when I’m in the middle of a crisis. I want to take a look at a couple of passages of Scripture with you. The first one is found in the New Testament in the book of James, chapter 1, verses 2 through 4. It says, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s not necessarily the first thought that comes to my mind when troubles come is considering it an opportunity for great joy. He continues and says, “For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” Again, my first response isn’t to always have joy when I go through the trouble, but there’s actually more going on than just the trouble that we see in front of us. Another one of the writers in the New Testament continues what James is saying. We find this in Romans; this is the apostle, Paul, talking...a man who started many churches and who, himself, went through many, many difficult things. He says, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings…” First, we’re supposed to find joy in it, and now we’re supposed to rejoice in the sufferings “...knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
When we look at these two verses, they’re kind of difficult when we first read them. You’re like, “Wow, I’m supposed to have joy and rejoice over the troubles that I go through?” But what they’re telling us is that there’s actually something going on; there’s something deeper than we can see in the moment. There’s actually this development deep within us that’s happening. Suffering and problems and crisis produce endurance. Then, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. Behind all of the problems that we face, all of the crises that we face, God is actually working things for a much greater purpose. He’s doing some things behind the scenes, and He’s doing this because God loves us. He loves us more than we’ll ever really understand on this side of eternity, and He actually wants the best for us. When we think about these problems and crises that we go through, we’re not thinking about what’s going on or what could be going on on a much deeper level.
God wants to do something in our lives, something specific in our lives, as we walk through the crisis. It’s impossible for me to know exactly all of the specifics about a crisis that you’re in the middle of or one that you might find yourself in in some point in the future. It’s impossible for me to know exactly, specifically, all of what God wants to do in you through those crises. What I do know is there are some things that God wants to do in all of our lives, and He often uses the crises and the problems that we go through to do those things. So, I want to take a look at some categories of some things that God often does in our lives, some of the good that He brings out of the crisis and the problems that we find ourselves in.
Before we look at these categories, I want to ask you something. I want you to just think for a moment. In the last seven weeks or so as we all have been experiencing this Covid crisis that we’re in, what’s something that you’ve learned? It doesn’t have to be something super spiritual or something super deep. What’s just something that you have learned in the last seven weeks? Something you didn’t know seven weeks ago or something you grew in since the time that we entered this crisis...think about that for just a moment. For me when I think about my own life and ways that I’ve grown through this crisis, that I’m different than I was seven weeks ago, two things immediately come to mind. They’re not super spiritual, so I said you didn't’ have to come up with a really deep, theological answer. Two things...one is I am working on becoming a Zoom wizard. I only really used Zoom a few times prior to seven weeks ago, and I was just a participant. I wasn’t the one setting up the meetings and running and scheduling them. The other thing is that because of the way that we’ve had to shift how we’re doing church life, I’ve learned all kinds of things about setting up the lighting for video shoots, whether it’s a video shoot like this where we’re using more specific type cameras or just even considering the light when I am shooting a video with my phone in my house or in my backyard. Those are just two simple ways that I’ve grown and that I’m different as a result of the “Corona Crisis” that we’re all in right now.
If we think about that question of “How could God use my crisis?,” I want to look at that now and think about four general categories. The first is to teach me to trust Him. God often uses crisis to teach us to trust Him. When we face a problem, for many of us instead of immediately going to God, we tend to just rely on ourselves. We think, “Nah, I got it. I got this. I’m smart enough. I’ve got a lot of degrees. I’ve got many letters behind my name, and I’ve got this. I know how to do it.” We tend to sometimes face crisis when we actually don’t have it all and do need God’s help to get through the crisis.
I want to take a look at an instance from the Apostle Paul’s life. We looked at what he wrote just a few minutes ago, from Romans. But this occurs, we read about it in 2 Corinthians chapter one, and he is in the middle of one of the crises...one of the many crises...that he himself had to walk through in his lifetime. It starts out here, and it says, “We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die…” So, this is a pretty dire situation that he’s talking about. Most of the problems that we’re facing, maybe we’re not expecting to die like Paul was here, but we do think we can get through it on our own maybe. Something has to wake us up to the fact that maybe we need more help than just ourselves. Listen to what Paul says. He talks about what God showed him. He says, “But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God who raises the dead. This problem was overwhelming. We couldn’t handle it, but as a result, we had to rely on God, and He came through.”
So, look what God did. Paul says, “And He…” This is God. “...He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.” God allowed this problem, this crisis, this overwhelming problem, one that they thought that they would not even live through...He allowed it so Paul would recognize the need for God and the need to trust in Him. In the middle of this crushing problem, Paul turned to God, trusted Him, and got to experience the incredible power of God providing and protecting and delivering him from the crisis that he was in.
A question for each of us to consider as we go through a crisis is “Is God allowing me to go through this problem right now so that I will clearly see that I need Him, and that I can trust Him?” Sometimes that is what God is doing in the middle of our crisis; He’s developing the trust of us in Him. Another way that God can use a crisis is to teach me to learn from others. No matter how much we know, no matter how long we have been to school, no matter how smart we are or how high our IQ is, none of us knows everything. It’s simply not true. We need other people, and sometimes one of the purposes behind God allowing us to walk through crisis is to help us, rather force us, to see the need for other people in our lives, to see that there are problems in our life that we can’t solve. Maybe God doesn’t have to deliver us in a real significant way, like Paul just talked about, but maybe we just need to include some other people in our lives who can help us in the moment of crisis.
Often when we have problems, we tend to ask different questions. We tend to listen, and as a result of that, we actually learn. We grow, and we gain some wisdom. Really what we’re talking about here with this category of what God might be trying to do is, He might be trying to teach you teachability for you to be able to learn. It’s really interesting; Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” As we’re getting input from other people, we’re actually gaining wisdom that will help us in the future as we navigate the crisis we may be in now, but also as we think about how to navigate future problems and future crises. Again, I want to let you in on just a little secret. You don’t know everything that you need to know today to fix every problem or every crisis you will encounter in your lifetime. Frankly, neither do I. I don’t know how to fix every problem in my life, but I’m so grateful that God has put me in an environment, put me in a community where I have people in my life who really are for me, godly people I can go to for input and for wisdom and for counsel, who can point out things in my life that maybe I need to change. Some crises we find ourselves in are way beyond our control.
None of us had control over this corona virus and the Covid pandemic we’re in, but as we talked about last week, some of the problems that we find ourselves in were created by us or our own stupidity or our own sin. It’s great to have other people in our life to walk through those times with us. God actually made us for relationships. That’s part of how He designed us; He did not make us to live life totally on our own to actually have relationships. When we’re in community and we have relationships with people who can encourage us and call us forward and help us in our time of need, that’s actually when we thrive and when we grow and when we blossom as people. Sometimes God allows us to go through crisis to teach us that lesson. The question for us to consider then is… “Is God allowing me to go through this problem or crisis right now in order to humble me and teach me how to learn from others?” Sometimes, and this is really hard for some of us… “and/or accept help from other people?” Because we think that we’ve got all the answers, we know everything, but sometimes God’s actually putting us in a position to have other people help us because He wants to teach us something. But, He wants to give them he privilege of helping and blessing us.
A third category that sometimes God uses my crisis is to adjust my priorities. We go about in life, and we’ve all got priorities. We’ve got things that are more important than others, and sometimes those priorities kind of get out of whack. We need to re-evaluate them; we need to adjust them and get them back into a proper order. It could be that from time to time or maybe even now that you’ve found yourself putting some things at a higher importance level that actually aren’t that important. Instead, maybe some of the things that are really important, we’re just not paying attention to, and maybe we’re neglecting. If that’s the case, then the priorities are off. Sometimes, that’s one of the ways that God wants to use a crisis. For me, I think the ultimate example of the priority adjustment through crisis is the 40 years wandering in the wilderness that God’s people spent after He delivered them from Egypt.
There’s a verse in Deuteronomy, Deuteronomy 8:2, that sort of summarizes the 40 years of wandering. It says, “Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” You see, quite simply God told them to do something. He told them to go into the Promised Land that He had provided for them, but they were unwilling to go in. So, they spent these 40 years wandering as a result of not obeying and not doing what God said, so He’s reminding them that these 40 years of wandering is seen as “Are you going to obey me in the future?”
For us in our own time, the truth is sometimes we go about walking through times of problems and difficulty longer than maybe we need to because we refuse to put God in the proper place in our lives. So another question for us to consider when we are in crisis is “Do I feel like I’ve been wandering through the desert, and I just can’t seem to find a solution to the crisis that I’m in?” If that’s you, perhaps your priorities are a little out of order or maybe a lot out of order. Maybe praying something like this would be a help, would be a good next step in the right direction? Just pray, “Ok, God, You’ve got my attention. I recognize that I am broken and I need you. I’ve really been trying to do everything on my own and in my own strength, and I’ve been putting other things and other people ahead of You. But today, I want to put You back in that first place. I want to put You back in the place that You belong, and I want to give You first place in all of my life.” That might be a really great question to ask and a great prayer to pray if that’s where you find yourself.
It’s also possible that through the crisis that we find ourselves in that God can use it to make me more like Jesus. When we think about that, Jesus walked on this planet. He walked among the people; He experienced all the same kinds of problems that we experience today. Scripture tells us that He experienced loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, and rejection. A few weeks ago when we started this series, we looked at three big questions that are out there in life for us. The first question was “Is there more to life than I’m experiencing?” The simple summary answer to what we looked at three weeks ago was “Yes, there is, and our destiny is to become like Christ, to become like Him in character.” So if we’re going to become like Him in character, it’s only natural to assume that God’s going to take us through some of the same experiences that Christ went through.
I want to show you a diagram that shows the process of life change. As you look at this simple diagram, you will notice that on the left it starts with the natural man and moves progressively to being like Christ after we have died. You see, we all start out as the natural man. Scripture tells us that we’re born into this world as sinners. We are separated from God, but the moment that we yield our life to Jesus Christ, that we decide we want Him to be our Lord and our Savior, that we want to follow Him, we’re a spiritual baby. Then we mature over time; we become a child, and then we become mature where we just have that little sliver of gray. Then one day when we pass on into eternity, we will truly be like Christ. During the problems and the crisis that we have, God is using this to grow us in our maturity.
The reality is that God uses all kinds of things to move us in the direction of maturity. He uses the help that we can receive from our church. He uses the insights that we gain from our own personal quiet times, and He uses the insights and relational experiences that we have in our groups. He uses our friends, and He uses all of those things to make us more like Jesus. He even uses the problems that we have in our life. The question here, then, that we need to consider is “What is God using in my life, perhaps even right now in this crisis with the Covid pandemic, to make me more like Jesus?” God’s goal for us here on this planet, His goal for our life, is not that we live a life full of comfort, but that we develop in character. He wants us to grow spiritually. He wants us to become like Christ over the course of our life, and we see that Jesus developed. God wants us to continue to develop to be more like Jesus.
But, character isn’t developed the easy way. In fact, character is developed through problems and trials and even crisis. That’s were the verses in James and Romans were telling us that we looked at a few minutes ago. You can think about it this way. If you wanted to learn about patience, do you really learn about patience by reading about patience? By studying about patience? Then, you suddenly become patient? No, you really learn about patience when you’re put in incredibly difficult situations, maybe with annoying people at work or children who are tired and hungry and whiny. Then, you get to practice patience, and then grow in patience. The same thing could be said if you want to grow in faith. We don’t just simply read about faith and decide that we’re going to have great faith. We actually grow in our faith as God allows us to walk through difficult times in our life that we are forced to rely on Him. Then as He comes through, as we rely on Him, our faith grows, and it’s greater on the other side of the crisis than it is when we went into the crisis.
In the moment of crisis, it’s really hard to see what all God is doing, but there are some things that He might be doing. He might be teaching me to trust Him, teaching me to learn from others, teaching me to adjust my priorities, or trying to make me more like Jesus. I want you to meet the Johnson family and hear about a crisis that they went through and what God did in them through this crisis.
Jacob Johnson: About six and a half years ago, I had a job that gave me a lot of freedom. I made some very poor choices with that freedom, as well as the resources that God had entrusted to Rhonda and I. Over the next year and a half from when it started, it just continued. At the time, I was in the NorthStar program, and we were also. helping out with a connection group. I just, with those things happening, realized just how bad my addiction, my sin of gambling was. Because of that, I confessed it to Rhonda one night after our group. One of the things I had learned in my time at Hope was about the PAR Principle. It’s Privilege, Accountability, and Responsibility, and when all three of those are the same, life works out. Things are good, but when one of them gets out of whack, like when I was using too much privilege of spending money and wasn’t having anyone hold me accountable...when they get out of whack, bad things happen. Bad things did. I was worried once I confessed to Rhonda that I had lost my job. I was just afraid that Rhonda wouldn’t forgive me, that God wouldn’t forgive me, and I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to forgive myself. I had lost respect for myself, the resources, and the job. It was just a really tough crisis.
Rhonda Johnson: Five years ago when I found out, when Jacob let me know what had been happening, the world as I knew it really turned upside down. Everything that I thought I had a foundation or was stable in I really started to question. It was the biggest crisis that we had ever gone through in our marriage, and just in our lives. When something’s really personal to you, you remember so many details of it, of just where you were and what was said, what you felt; and it was definitely one of those times. Through that we were...after one of the connection groups on a Tuesday night when we got home was when Jacob let me know just about what had been going on and the dishonesty that had been happening. In that moment of shock and just not knowing how to respond, my first words were “We need to go to Hope,” not the physical building of Hope but just the people of Hope. Knowing the support that we could have there and the people that would help us get through it, that was really the first choice of many, many more choices that we had to make. Just turning to faith and turning to what our values were and what life was built on to asking for help and support and really seeking out friendships for support...really just trying to get a vision for the future versus focusing on what was happening right then.
Jacob Johnson: In the crisis that I created, the dilemma was when I turned to church leaders and when I turned to God and started seeking wisdom on my actions, I just realized how arrogant and selfish my behavior was. How I basically was focusing on me. The difficult parts and the parts I really had to seek wisdom from others in a crisis was learning how to lead your family when you created the problem. Also, I just became painfully aware of the impact that my sin and choices had. It hadn’t just affected me. Seeing how it affected not just me but those around me and just having to learn to trust God that He would just help me rebuild the relationship with my wife...so that I could rebuild trust with her. Those were just parts of the way I had to continue to learn and grow.
Rhonda Johnson: In the weeks that followed, in the days and weeks, there were several women that I reached out to and started meeting with who sacrificed of their time willingly just to listen. There were so many thoughts going through my head and so many different things, but also just to encourage me and more than anything really to challenge me to look in a mirror constantly at what God might be wanting me to learn and what I needed to grow in and what my flaws were. The temptation really was to question every decision that had been made for a long time...our marriage and all kinds of things. But really the opportunity we were being given in that crisis was to continue to put God first and continue to make our faith a priority, to continue to make our values a priority, and for me to have personal growth. Through that I learned how to trust that God wasn’t going to rip me off. It’s something we talk about at Hope, but when it’s personal to you, it’s very different. It’s having to trust “Did Jacob really want to change? Could I trust him again? DId he really care for me? Did he really care for our family?” Having to learn to take steps towards that. Jacob and I are complete opposites in personality and how we react and respond to things and just who we are. God really used that time to help me recognize it was more important to listen to him and to grow personally more than anything else to be able to take steps to trust.
What I appreciate about Hope the most having gone through that entire crisis is being able to have as much support as we did. That support came without judgment; it came without gossiping. There were many people who didn’t know our story, and people that I could seek out wisdom from when I asked for it were available and ready to give encouragement. God gave lots of opportunities and has allowed through our 11 years there continued opportunities to seek out God first and His values and to make our family a priority throughout that crisis and after that.
Jacob Johnson: Although I created the crisis, I can honestly say God allowed us to walk through the crisis together, through just listening to those around and me and that were put in charge of me, those I asked to hold me accountable. I can honestly say that my relationship with God is stronger. My relationship with my wife is stronger than it ever has been in our 18 years of marriage. I’m able to show Kaylene that God will continue to use you no matter what happens and what mistakes you make that God still wants to continue to grow you through crisis. You see, we’ve grown so much in the crisis seeing how God provided for us, resources wise, how God provided for us just friendships and emotionally how we’ve just continued to stay connected to each other. I just don’t know where we would be if God had not put the people around us at Hope that He had to help understand what was going on and what we needed.
God has a purpose in all of the pain that we experience, in all of the crisis that we walk through, even when the crises are caused by our own choices or our own sin. But what are we supposed to do practically as we walk through a crisis? How do we get traction and move forward in the middle of the crisis? I want to offer you three next steps that you can take when you’re in the middle of a crisis, so that you don’t just go through it but that you can actually grow through it. The first step that you can take, even if you have no idea what to do, you see no way forward at all...the first step that you can take is to pray. James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” God wants us to ask Him for help. He wants us to pray, and sometimes the prayer is just, “Oh, God, please help! I don’t know what to do!” So, pray; that’s the first thing that we can do. If you don’t know what to do, you can always pray.
But then after you pray and as you’re praying because prayer should be a part of the entire crisis you’re walking through, you need to take the necessary action. Again, I don’t know the specific crisis that you are walking through or that you will walk through, so therefore, I don’t know the specific action that you might need to take. When you think about action, here’s what that might look like. You might need to confess Truth to yourself. You might need to not listen to the lies that are going on in your head and actually speak the Truth. Things like...God is still in control; God loves me. God will not rip me off. Maybe you need to confess sin. In fact, whenever you find yourself in the middle of a crisis, a really good thing to think about and to pray about and a good question to ask is “Am I out of bounds with God in any area of my life? Is there anything that I need to clear up with God or with other people?” You might need to get some counsel, to get some advice, to get some wisdom from others on next steps to take. Then, perhaps, depending on the situation, maybe you need to run. If you found yourself in the middle of a burning house, here’s what I would do. I would pray like crazy, and I would run away from the flames. In the middle of a crisis, we need to take the necessary action.
Then, the third thing is a step to commit to endure. Trouble has come so that we can learn to endure. When it comes to character development and when it comes to learning to endure, the only way that you can learn to endure is by having to endure, just like the only way to grow in patience is by having to be patient. Last week, I shared the story of the boating accident that I was in when I was 14 years old, and that was a very difficult and very physically painful crisis that I walked through. I learned all kinds of things as a result of that experience. I am grateful for the growth that I have on this side of it, though I wish I didn’t have to go through that experience and go through what I went through in order to get the lessons. I am so grateful for the lessons that I’ve learned. I just want to share a few of those lessons that I’ve taken away with me over the years, as a result of that incredibly difficult crisis I walked through.
First and foremost, I learned the power of prayer. I literally had hundreds of people that I don’t know and probably will never get a chance to meet, praying for me when I was walking through that. I saw God answer real prayers in real time. In that moment when certain things were needed or certain things were coming up as I was in the hospital in the ICU… I also experienced real and significant pain, pain like I’d never experienced up to that point, and pain like I’m grateful I have not experienced since that time. I have a new appreciation for what it’s like to be in pain. I, from a real experiential empathetic standpoint, know what it’s like to be in pain. I‘m grateful for the understanding that I have of what real, physical pain is like that many of us walk through for extended seasons.
I also got to experience the kindness and the help from all kinds of other people because I just needed help. I needed lots of help. I needed help that other people knew that I needed that I didn’t even know that I needed. Sometimes the help that they gave was simply the encouragement to be with me. It was not necessarily something that you can say or something you can do, you can just show love to someone by being there. I got to experience incredible kindness from all kinds of people. As we go through crisis, there’s a key that I want to leave you with, and if you don’t remember anything from this week or last week, I want you to remember this. This is to go to God first.
Go to God first when you find yourself in crisis. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” The moment that you find yourself in crisis or you think you might be headed towards crisis… Even if everything inside of you wants to run from God because you’re scared or you’re mad or you think you don’t deserve it, go to God first. He will help you. He will give you the help and the strength and the resources that you need to walk through the situation that is before you. A question that I want to leave us all with that I’d like for us all to consider is “How is God using the circumstances of my life, whether it’s a crisis today or something else, but how is God using circumstances of my life to grow me?” Because sometimes there are things in life that we simply cannot go around, we have to go through them. We have to go through them to get to the other side. God wants to use that experience to grow some things in us and around us so that we can be the person, the man or the woman, that He wants us to be, so that He can use us to in the ways that He wants to use us in the future to accomplish His will and His purposes that His people get to be a part of.
That’s the encouragement that I want to leave you with as we’ve talked about growing through crisis. How does God want to grow you through your circumstances? Would you bow with me in prayer. Father, I thank You that there is purpose to the pain. Thank You that You love us enough to grow us and stretch us in order so that we can become more like you, Jesus, and to be used more by You. Please, Father, help us to see the problems we’re experiencing from Your angle. Please show us what You want us to know, what You want us to do, how You want us to grow, how You want us to trust You. Please show us that as we walk forward, and please give us the strength and the help and the comfort we need in the moment of our crisis, so that we can walk through it and learn all that You have intended for us to learn. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.