A crisis is an event or situation that threatens our psychological equilibrium. They are expected or unexpected, real or imagined, actual (as a loved one has died) or potential (as is appears that a loved one might die). Someone has noted that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters: one means “danger” and the other “opportunity.”
- Danger: This is because it threatens to overwhelm the person. It involves the sudden shift of roles, or a significant loss. Due to the intensity of the situation, the customary methods of handling stress no longer work, which leads to frustration and bewilderment, anxiety, anger, discouragement, sorrow or guilt.
- Opportunity: Counseling offers a chance to grow, change and develop better ways of coping.
The Bible and Crises Types:
Much of the Bible is concerned with people in crises: Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Saul, David, Elijah, Daniel and on and on. Several letters were written to help people going through crises. There can be identified three types of crises:
- Accidental or situational crises: Sudden threat or unexpected loss occurs (death, pregnancy, social disruptions like war or economic depression, loss of a house or savings, sudden loss of respect or status).
- Developmental crises: Occurs in the course of normal human development (start in a new school, going away to college, adjusting to marriage then parenthood, handling criticism, facing retirement, declining health).
- Existential crises: The are changes in self-perception, which can be denied temporarily but must eventually be faced realistically. They overlap the above but come when we are forced to face such disturbing truths:
- I’m a failure.
- I’m too old to reach my goals.
- I’ve been passed over for the promotion, again.
- Now I’m a widow, single again.
- My life has no purpose or meaning.
- My illness in incurable.
- My house and possession were destroyed in the fire.
- I’ve been rejected because of my skin color.
Think of Elijah’s great victory at Carmel and then his emotional state afterwards; Jonah and his thoughts; the calamities of Job.