In the book of John, Jesus when He says that He came to give us life and that this life is one that abounds (John 10:10). The life He talked about is what we refer to as eternal life which is more than living forever but actually a quality of existence that we have now. We have eternal life the very moment that we become children of God. This quality of existence provides a God perspective on how to successfully navigate life and one of the greatest perspectives we need is the perspective on crisis.
Crisis is common to life but the effects of crisis depends on the perspective we have and indeed the quality of existence from which we see it. I read s story of a gardener who was confused as to why one of his trees was not growing. After visiting a local nursery, the nursery staff told him “just beat the tree at the trunk and it will grow” to which he laughed and almost walked out of the store. He later realized that the nursery staff was serious and further stated “when you beat the tree at the trunk, you introduce some crisis to the tree and its response to this crisis is that it grows out its branches”.
What a great insight into crisis and particularly what Jesus says in John 15 when He teaches that fruitful branches are purged to become more fruitful – that is the idea. When the tree goes into crisis, it becomes more productive as a defense mechanism not only when you beat it but when you purge it and cut away all the dead branches. Well, what is true of this tree in the story is also true of our lives.
How do we look at crisis? Jesus’ lesson in John 15 teaches that the pruning process is designed to create greater productivity. We can never be as productive until there is some pruning or cutting away from our lives. There is a process of purification by way of crisis that increases our productivity because crisis is designed to move you from one level to another. It introduces us to the weaknesses that we have and challenges us to improve. There is a proverb that says “if you faint in the day of trouble, your strength is small” meaning that the day of trouble (crisis) not only helps you assess your strength level, it also creates an opportunity to be stronger and better – this is the eternal life perspective. Crisis is always designed to show you areas of your life that needs to be strengthened and you should never respond to crisis in a negative way but see it as an opportunity to be better.
Life is lived on levels and crisis moves us from one level to another. Every new level is one of new responsibility, knowledge and authority. Too often as humans we tend to take the paths of least resistance and so God puts some pressure on us, puts our backs against the wall to move us from a lower level of existence to a higher one by way of crisis.