How to Trust God in a National Crisis

American flag at sunset

How to Trust God in a National Crisis

The Corona Virus created a national crisis that hit nearly every area of life. Our unemployment rate climbed from 3.6% in January to higher than 10% in July. Numerous small businesses across the nation have died and still more are fighting to stay alive. Then there’s the added burden families feel regarding all the changes affecting our school systems. While this apparent chaos challenges our sense of security, amidst all the unknowns, we can choose to trust Christ and thus grow in our faith and eternal impact.

When our world appears uncertain, may we hold tight to those things we know are certain and unshakable. No matter how frightening our circumstances might feel, God remains in control. He truly does have a good, hope-filled plan, and the power to bring it to pass. 

Believing this, here are three active ways we can trust God in a national crisis.

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1. Pray

When I feel threatened, I’m often tempted to rely on myself first and turn to God last. In my anxiety, I forget core truths regarding who God is and what He’s promised. I forget that He’s powerful, loving, all-knowing, faithful and true. Scripture says He owns every animal in the forest, “cattle on a thousand hills,” “bird in the mountains,” and each “insect in the fields” (Psalm 50: 10-11). Everything belongs to Him and remains under His control, our national crisis included.

But He’s not a miserly landowner who stingily withholds from those in need. Rather, He’s a devoted Father who provides for each of His children. Writing to ancient Christians facing their own crises during the time of Nero, Paul wrote, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:31-32, NIV).

While this doesn’t promise God will always orchestrate life according to our desires, it does ensure He will always “work all things” for our ultimate good (Romans 8:28-30). When we prioritize prayer, we act as if we truly believe these truths. More importantly, we demonstrate we understand that He is God and we are not.

This is perhaps the most powerful stance we can take. There are numerous reasons for this. First, through prayer, we’re enlisting the help of the only One with the power to truly affect change. Second, Scripture tells us we’re engaged in an intense spiritual battle. In Ephesians 6, Paul wrote: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

In the verses that follow, he explained precisely how believers should equip themselves for victory, and not once did he emphasize human skill, strength, and wisdom. Our weapons aren’t “of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4, emphasis mine).

But most importantly, whenever we intentionally turn to Him, our relationship with our Savior grows. In this, we begin to discover that He truly is what we need most.

As you seek to actively trust God through prayer, pause to reflect on the following verses:

“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.” (1 Peter 3:12a)

“Know that the Lord has set apart His faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; He saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them. … The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:4-7, 17)

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scripture verse phrase 2 chronicles 20:17

2. Advance

When we feel threatened, many of us seek places of safety, but Christ empowers us for courage and victory. While He fights our greatest battles, that’s not an invitation to retreat. Rather, we’re called to faith-filled, active obedience.

Consider the ancient Israelites during the time of King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20). A vast and ferocious army was coming against them. Terrified, the king issued a nationwide fast and all the people came to seek God’s aid. While the king led them in a desperate yet faith-filled prayer, one man in the crowd spoke up. “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army” he said. “For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15b). Notice, however, the people were to “march down against them,” “Take up [their] positions;” and “stand firm” (v. 17). Then, they would witness God’s deliverance.

We see a similar pattern of assurance, obedience, followed by God’s miraculous aid in Joshua 3. Through Joshua, God led His people into the fertile land long promised them. But first, they had to cross a raging river.

Scripture tells us: “So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them. Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Joshua 3:14-17).

This passage says the people crossed during flood season, when the river would’ve been swollen with rushing waters. Scripture also tells us the water didn’t stop until the priests stepped into it. They needed to act on their faith and advance forward in courageous obedience. Once they did, the water stopped flowing and the entire nation was able to cross on dry ground.

As you steadily move forward despite your fear, may the following verses encourage you.

"This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

"Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.” (1 Chronicles 28:20)

We can respond to every challenge with bravery knowing Creator God, our protector, provider, and source of strength, always remains with us. He will give us everything we need to do all He asks.

(Listen to episode 15 of Jennifer’s Faith Over Fear podcast, found HERE, to learn ways to effectively battle against your fear.)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)

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3. Love

When the Coronavirus first hit the United States, an “everyone-for-themselves” mentality infected our nation. Panicked shoppers stripped grocery store shelves nearly bear, purchasing much more than they needed. We saw similar behaviors during the Y2 scares of 1999. These circumstances and others demonstrate two common, interconnected reactions to fear: We fight for control and focus on ourselves.

God’s children are to live differently. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,” the apostle Paul, a man who routinely lived courageously for Christ, wrote. “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). This was the type of life Jesus modeled, stating, prior to His death, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

During a national crisis, sacrificial love can feel difficult and frightening. But God has not given His children a spirit of fear. Instead, in Christ, we’re ignited with power, love, and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). And here’s why. We’re to point everyone we encounter to Christ, so that through Him, they might find life.

This is one of the most powerful ways we’ll experience Christ. As we seek to live for Him, His peace-giving, igniting Spirit first fills us then flows through us.

We’re living in challenging, unsettling times. But this present crisis provides perhaps the best evangelistic opportunity most of us will ever encounter. The truths we claim regarding who God is and all He’s done lose impact when we cower in fear. When we choose to actively trust Him, however, through prayer, advancing forward in obedience, and loving others as He loves us, He fills us with supernatural peace and helps us leave an eternal impact.

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Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who hosts the Faith Over Fear podcast. She’s addressed women’s groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Building a Family and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she’s passionate about helping women experience Christ’s freedom in all areas of their lives. Visit her online to learn more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event  and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE  and make sure to connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.