Crisis is an Opportunity
On this day we celebrate Palm Sunday of the passion of the Lord, I prayerfully wish you a fruitful conclusion of our Lenten journey and spiritual exercises which are meant to usher us into the highest celebration of our faith – The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ at Easter, amen.
Today, the catalogue of crises are on the increase and this has resulted in failures, disappointments, frustrations, and anger; others are hurts, traumas, diseases and sicknesses of all kinds, mass unemployment, retrenchment, suicidal prevalence, financial crisis, failed marriages, crashes, depressions, anxieties, fears, scarcity mentality, disharmony, discords, displeasures and more anguished thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The list is endless! We live in times that are perilous! People cannot feed let alone pay for their medicals and housing. Relationships at various levels have become means to actualize the Darwinian maxim of the survival of the fittest. Hopes are dashed away for crises and their effects. The question is, are those of us who take the spiritual life seriously, immune from the situations mentioned above? You are free to provide the answers.
This sharing falls in line with the celebration of today’s Palm Sunday of the passion of the Lord. It is a call and the grace to see beyond the swinging of palm branches and other instruments.
Many persons I have come in contact with or those who approach me through various channels of communication are experiencing multiple crises and for some life does not make any meaning again. It is a bundle of mess and a waste! Etymologically, from Latinized form of Greek krisis “turning point in a disease” (used as such by Hippocrates and Galen), literally “judgment, result of a trial, selection.” So, crisis as a term is from the ancient Greek – krisis, or judgement, “to separate, decide, judge.” We gather from this root meaning of the word that crisis supposed to be moments of choices, decision making or bouncing to the opposite of a crisis moment. It is a test of Character, a test of the attitude of discipline (Heb. 12:6). Meaning, a crisis is not just a bad situation but a point in life to test our transformative power or potentials. When the word is used or applied in the negative sense as it is usually done, then it is devalued. Although, there are controversies surrounding the correct interpretation and usage of the Chinese characters for crisis, yet there is a sense in the saying that the characters for crisis combine parts of those for danger and opportunity. Hence, the saying crisis is dangerous opportunity.
The foregoing understanding is what we need to carry on in life. Jesus Christ whom we celebrate on Palm Sunday is part of our crises world. Scripture confirms that “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). What does this experience of Jesus suggest to us? It says that all events, encounters, circumstances are helpful because they become useful information for us. We need to cultivate or adopt factors that support the attitude of resilience. This is where we are reminded of our first potent force in heaven and on earth – a sound relationship with God. Jesus had His way in our crises world through His relationship with His Father whom He calls Our Father – “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” (Heb. 5:7). It goes to say, “There’s a spiritual solution to every problem” asserts Wayne Dyer. This corroborates with the Angelic saying, “For nothing will be impossible for God” (Luke 1:37). Secondly, we need to always have a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Our life is more than any crisis. We have the innate abilities to either surrender to the crises affecting us or to say I have a reason (s) to live and accept the crisis and be in full control of it. Not the other way round. Frederick Nietzsche states that, “That which does not kill you make you stronger.” Again, when in crisis we ought to assess ourselves – am I an egg or a ball? This is where Robert Schuller’s book title comes alive “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Enjoy life. Fr. John-Mary Atep.