(Courtesy of Richmond Community Church)
I do not know of many Christians who have not at some time had a crisis point in their walk with God. How we respond to such a crisis in many ways determines our future maturity as a Christian. Certainly the fact that there are today some who once knew the Lord Jesus and walked away from that relationship with Him, can be directly related to their failure of properly responding to a crisis of their faith in God. If all those who have walked away were to come back to the Lord there may not be an empty seat in our churches.
This issue of responding properly to a crisis of faith becomes a paramount one for the Church. There are many outside the Church today because of it and there are many within the Church who has stunted their personal growth with God because of it. They have lost the kind of joy and zeal they once had for serving God and they cannot seem to pinpoint when that happened. For many it can be traced back to a crisis time in their walk with God when they reached a place of desperation and felt God was not there or did not provide and so they hold that against Him, even unknowingly.
What constitutes a crisis of faith? It is when we come to a pivotal point in our Christian life when events cause us to believe that we cannot go on serving God. The surface causes for such a crisis are as varied as individual experience, it could be the loss of a loved one, a financial disaster, a relationship break-up, or a job loss but the root causes comprise several main issues. This is important to identify for it helps us to realize that we are not different from other Christians. It also helps us to weed through the particulars of our situation and see the underlying issues which have brought us to such a crisis point.
What then are these root causes which are at the heart of a crisis of faith? We can see these in the lives of five great men of God in the Old Testament. Men who did some of the greatest exploits that have ever been done in the name of God. These are men we have read about, studied their lives and felt that we could never match up to their walk with God. Yet, men who reached such a great crisis point in their walk with God that they asked God to kill them or asked God why they had ever been born.
Moses was the first of these men as recorded in Numbers 11:14-15, "This job is too much for me…If this is the way you're going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life." How could such a successful leader like Moses ever come to a place where he felt he could not go on? This crisis came out of a deep seated sense of insecurity. Moses felt he was not up to the task God had called him to.
Elijah was the second of these great men of God as we see in I Kings 19:3-4, "Elijah was afraid when he got her message…he walked a whole day into the desert…He begged the Lord, 'I've had enough. Just let me die! I'm no better off than my ancestors.''" Here Elijah, the man through whom God performed the miraculous, asked God to take his life. Although it seems like a strange paradox, the man of power was now in his crisis time filled with fear, afraid of Jezebel and feeling like he was all alone with no one who believed like him.
Job was the third of these heroes of the Faith that we find in Job 3:11, "Why didn't I die at birth?" Here we find the prosperous and respected Job asking God why he had ever even been born. The unforeseen disaster that had come upon Job caused such suffering that Job reached a dramatic crisis in his walk with God.
Jeremiah was the fourth man of God whose faith was tested in Jeremiah 20:14, "Put a curse on the day I was born! Don't bless my mother." Jeremiah felt such an outward shame that what he had prophesized had not come to pass. This brought about an immense crisis of faith for Jeremiah in his disappointment with God for not doing as he had promised.
Finally, the fifth servant of God that came to a place of crisis with God was Jonah in Jonah 4:3, "Now let me die! I'd be better off dead." Jonah had not wanted to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh because they would repent and God would spare them. This is exactly what happened and Jonah came to a crisis point because of his pride in wanting his will more than God's will.
All five of these men ultimately chose not to abandon their faith in God. They were able to have a crisis of faith and not lose their faith. They did this by recognizing a salient truth – God has a plan. His plan may not be our plan or we may not understand it but God is still in control. In every case God worked out His purposes even if these men initially could not see it. Whether it is fear, insecurity, disappointment, suffering or pride only by trusting God's ultimate plan can you overcome your crisis of faith. In each situation God ultimately provided an answer proving His complete faithfulness. The cost is simply way too high to sacrifice all the benefits of your faith over a temporary crisis.