The Chinese character for the word “Crisis” is actually made of two symbols that (interestingly enough) represent: “danger” and “opportunity.” Here is what it looks like:
But, honestly, in the face of a global pandemic, and amidst so many potential dangers, are there truly opportunities we can find? As a follower of Christ, I believe there are, in fact, many. Here is a short list of 20 I have found thus far:
1. Connection — with family, friends, and church. Even with ‘physical distancing’ I will stay connected with my loved ones. “Don’t forsake the assembling of yourselves together” (Hebrews 10:25). Find ways to connect via phone, text, email, FaceTime, Skype, etc. Especially connect with the hurting, fearful, and lonely. Check your contact list on your phone and give a text, call, and prayer. Connect with a Christian counselor if necessary; one who can provide practical “how-tos” for the Biblical “ought-tos” (see below).
2. Constancy — I will keep up with my routines. Get up, make my bed, have my devotional-quiet time with the Lord. “Jesus frequently went away to the lonely/quiet place” (Luke 5:16). Your children and others need to have this sense of predictability amid chaos. Try to keep as many of my routines as possible intact.
3. Control — But, what can I still have control of? I will keep not only my routines but be aware of my body, diet, exercise, rest, and recreation.
4. Curiosity — Look for the God-moments amid this storm. Where is God showing up in your life? What is he saying or revealing to you?
5. Confession — of any known sin. Keep short accounts with God. Listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I confess my utter dependence upon Him. I will confess the wonders of the Lord. I will declare them out loud!
6. Contemplation — Use this time to deeply reflect on the things of God. Learn new spiritual practices/disciplines.
7. Child-like heart — What a time this is to trust the Father. Become as little children and see the Kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3).
8. Consecrate — I consecrate (i.e., set apart) myself anew to the Lord. This is what the children of Israel did before they fought their first battle at Jericho. (Joshua) They first had to rededicate (circumcise) their hearts to the Lord.
9. Creativity — I will generate a sense of hope in the ways we will all be different for the better on the other side of this crisis. Try something brand new. God created the world out of chaos and brought beauty and order. The spark of ZOE (Gk.) that is in Christ (eternal life) is in every believer. (Genesis 1:1; John 1). Many churches are finding amazingly creative ways to “do church.” Create a joyful, happy, trusting home environment, as well.
10. Choose — I choose this day to place my hope in Christ. I choose this day whom I will serve. Yes, I thank God for advances of science, but I choose to place my ultimate trust in Christ. Amid this crisis, I may be tempted to go “back to Egypt” (children of Israel) or “back to my old life” (Peter). These old “go-tos” were not healthy for me then and they are not healthy for me now.
11. Common sense — I wash, cover, wipe, keep physical distance, and stay home if sick. I will pay attention to my body since much stress comes out as a “body symptom.” As one famous writer (Van der Kolk) states, “The Body Keeps the Score.”
12. Consider — I will consider Him and “ALL OF HIS WAYS.” I honor Christ; I think of Him; I Worship Him!
13. Community — Check in with one another, provide a meal, a call, and let others know of a need you might have.“They were gathered together in one accord” (Acts 2).
14. Continue — I will steadfastly trust in the goodness of the Lord. I will remain (or abide) in him (John 15). I won’t give up or give in to fear or to the enemy of my hope in Christ.
15. Cultivate — I will cultivate significant relationships and cultivate new habits…trying things I have put off for a long while. It is a new day for all of us. Cultivate a thankful heart.
16. Commit — I will choose to be positive. Amidst a lot of bad news, I will look for those times in which God is breaking through. I commit to remaining faithful to my “first love.” I commit all my ways to the Lord.
17. Charity — is the word used in 1 Corinthians 13. This is what will remain: “faith, hope, and charity”…the greatest is charity (love). I choose to love.
18. Contribute — I will support this ministry who is faithfully serving Christ and proclaiming His Word throughout the world. There are so many ways to contribute to others during this time.
19. Cross — Keep the Cross before us and behold Christ our risen Savior! (Behold the Lamb!)
20. Counselor — There is safety among many counselors. Choose someone you can trust and confide in who knows how to listen to your heart. Emerge Counseling Ministries is offering tele-counseling services. Click here for more information and for easy-to-follow instructions. We are here to help!
Donald A. Lichi, PhD
Donald A. Lichi, PhD is a licensed psychologist and currently serves as the Vice President of Emerge Counseling Services.
Dr. Lichi is an adjunct professor with Trinity International University (IL), the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), the Asia Theological Center (Singapore), and All Nations Theological Seminary (Malawi, Africa). He has been a speaker at numerous conferences and workshops on pastoral health, Christian education, parenting, marriage, and family issues. He has published several articles on Christian mental health, and is the co-author of the book, Broken Windows of the Soul (Moody Press). He serves on the pastoral teaching team of the Akron Chinese Christian Church and the board of Emmanuel Christian Academy, which ministers to “at risk” children in the inner city of Akron, OH.
Dr. Lichi was in private practice for over five years, taught school, and directed a school-based counseling program for six years. He also taught for six years in the graduate school at the University of Akron. While in the United States Air Force, he served for three years in Italy and three years in Alaska. Recent ministry has taken him to India, Brazil, Thailand, Ecuador, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Romania, China, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary, Nicaragua, and Singapore.
Best of all, he is married to Marcie and they have three adult children and seven grandchildren.