A Leadership Lesson About How to Have Faith in the Face of Crisis
Are you a worst case scenario thinker? I don’t mean as a strategic planning technique. I’m thinking about how you handle the unexpected circumstances and the surprises of life. You know the type. They can see a problem in every opportunity, the thorns on every rose, the dark side of every cloud, and are never disappointed.
The Gospel writer Luke records one of the disciple’s “worst case scenario” moments.
“One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, ‘Master, Master, we are perishing!’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?’” (Luke 8:22-25, ESV).
The scene is easy to picture. The disciples and Jesus were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Suddenly a violent storm swept across the lake. It was a life-threatening storm; the wind was raging, and the waves were cascading over the boat. In fact, when Matthew recorded this event he described it like an earthquake on the water!
The disciples weren’t landlubbers. They were experienced, seasoned fisherman who had ridden out many a storm at sea. But this time they were powerless to do anything about it and Jesus was sleeping while the storm raged. Panicked, they woke Jesus up. “We’re going to drown” they screamed through the howling wind. They sized up their situation, took a good look at their circumstances, evaluated based on their experience and concluded they were going to die at sea. Mark’s Gospel account tells us they said to Jesus, “Don’t you care that we drown?” It implied a feeling of resentment at Jesus’ apparent indifference to their peril.
Have you been there at the point where you look around at your circumstances and wonder, “Where is God?” You are disappointed with Jesus because what is happening to you is not what you expected to experience as his follower. When life storms (physical, emotional, or relational) threaten your personal equilibrium, do you wonder where God is in the midst of it all?
Jesus identifies this as a crisis of faith. The form of His question, “Where is your faith?” indicates He is really making a statement that, “You should be more trusting.” It’s not that the disciples didn’t have faith, but that their faith didn’t go deep enough. It didn’t provide peace in the midst of the storm.
Jesus is looking for a faith that relies upon Him to be fully sufficient in any situation or circumstance. A faith that understands in practice the reality that God is in control. Though storms may be violent at times, he never lets it get more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13, ESV). He takes everything including bad choices, mess-ups, and the hurts others deliver against us, and by His great power mixes them together and brings out good for our life and His glory (Romans 8:28, ESV).
Your crisis is a call to build your faith. Dilemmas are a time to remember God. God cares for you deeply and is continually in control, so rest in Him.
If you’re a church leader, pastor, or the leader of a non-profit organization, are you looking for leadership training or team development help? Thanks to the backing of a generous foundation, LifeEquip is able to offer leadership and organizational training at highly reduced rates to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Some LifeEquip services include pastoral coaching, OLA, Everything DiSC, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, and Lead Like Jesus.
- Adjunct Professor of Theology and Leadership
- Certified as a Human Behavior Consultant
- Authorized Wiley Everything DiSC© Partner
- Organizational Leadership Assessment (OLA) Partner
- Certified Facilitator of Ken Blanchard’s Lead Like Jesus Encounter Groups
- Certified Facilitator of CPP Personality, Career, and Organizational Development Assessments
- International Speaker and Trainer
RECENT POSTS & RESOURCES
Connect, Lead, Equip: Community Outreach Support: How to be Optimistic - In Good to Great, Jim Collins wrote about Vietnam War prisoner, Admiral Jim Stockdale, who was tortured over 20 times during his eight-year captivity in the prisoner-of-war camp and had no guarantee as to whether he would survive.
Connect, Lead, Equip: The Advantage (a Top Recommended & Important Book for Organizational Growth) - A healthy organization is one that can operate effectively, adapt adequately, change appropriately, and grow from within.
Connect, Lead, Equip: Ministry Resources for Planning - Planning is vital in our personal lives, work lives, and ministries...