Ten Reasons Why People of Faith Cope With a Crisis
You can bank on it. People of faith cope better in a crisis than those without. Here are ten reasons why:
- People of faith believe in a higher purpose. Instead of focussing only on material possessions, pleasure and accomplishments, they try to live for something and someone greater. This helps them put everything in perspective and helps them keep calm when trouble comes.
- People of faith believe in community and family. Having support in times of crisis is super important. A person who has a strong network of family, friends and a faith community receives the help, support, confidence and unity that family and a faith community provides.
- People of faith help others. Not only does the person of faith receive support from the relationships they have built, they also give support to others and that helps everyone cope in times of crisis. Part of the deal when you receive the gift of faith is to care for others, and to sacrifice oneself to help and assist those less fortunate. Helping others always helps us cope with a crisis because we share the burden.
- People of faith believe in personal responsibility. Because they have acknowledged their own faults, they have automatically taken charge of their lives and they believe it is possible to solve problems and take initiatives to solve problems. This adds confidence to the hope in their hearts, and helps them to take positive action.
- People of faith are realistic about life. They know that suffering and difficulty are part of the human experience, and that sickness and death are only a heartbeat, a virus or a germ away. This realism helps them cope when trouble comes. Without this realism people live in a make believe world where they expect everything to be perfect all the time.
- People of faith live without fear of death. I should say “they ought to live without fear of death”. This is because their faith is in the one who overcame death and promises to share that victory with them. Do they sometimes lapse into the natural fear of death and suffering? Of course, but beneath that failure of faith lies a much deeper reason to overcome the fear.
- People of faith find meaning in the midst of suffering. Those with the fullest understanding know that suffering can be redemptive. Light can shine through the darkness and a meaning that cannot be put into words wells up in the midst of the worst difficulties.
- People of faith live moment by moment. Someone has said, “Live each day as if it is your last and live each day as if you will live forever.” This ability to keep one eye on the present moment and one eye on eternity is a great gift of faith. It gives meaning and purpose to every moment of life, but it also means the person of faith looks beyond that moment to a greater life.
- People of faith expect the unexpected. With a wider vision of reality and a greater vision of God’s working in the world, people of faith are always on an adventure, seeking new answers and expecting the unexpected. Therefore when an unexpected crisis comes along they are more ready to adapt and rise to the challenge.
- People of faith believe there is One who oversees all things. This gift, most of all is a trust in what is called Divine Providence. Trust in an all good, all powerful God who does not always take the suffering away, but is always there to walk with us through the dark valley helps people cope with times of crisis. Not only does He accompany us in the time of trial, but he is always striving to wrench good out of evil, and win triumph in the midst of tragedy. This belief generates the gift of hope— a light that does not go out—even in the darkest of times.
Does this mean people without faith cannot cope in time of crisis? Of course not. Many people without faith also have the human virtues of courage, concern for others and a hopeful, spirit of action and co operation. However, even if they do not practice a religion, they share in a basic, general “faith” that exists at a foundation level within humanity. The practice of faith, however, strengthens that natural gift like practicing a musical instrument refines the natural musical gift a person might have.
The Storm of Fear
Why is the world caught up in a storm of fear, uncertainty and panic? The answer is because there has been a colossal loss of faith in our society. For a long time we have pursued only our materialistic answers. We have sought to control all things with our technological wizardry. We have control of our physical lives with marvelous medical advances. We control our economy, our politics, our media, our entertainment and every aspect of our lives, and we have forgotten that it is a house built on sand.
We have mastered everything except our faith. We have left that on the side because we didn’t think it was useful or relevant. Then when crisis hits and we are confronted with a disaster over which we have little control, it is natural that we panic. When the storm comes the house built on sand falls flat.
Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest working in South Carolina. Follow his blog, browse his books and be in touch at dwightlongenecker.com