November 09, 2012

Connecting in a Crisis

John 15:1-8

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
—John 15:5


Crises can be tough. In the fog of a crisis it can be hard to see anything good that God might be doing. Whether your finances are at risk through a job loss, or you have a relationship that’s threatening to implode, or you’re experiencing some other devastating event, it’s heart-breaking to see your world turned upside down. Eventually you wonder whether God might be punishing you for something.

But the fact is, we often seek to connect with God in our crises in ways that we wouldn’t ordinarily consider. One rumor of lay-offs or one unexplained result on a medical test can change everything. Suddenly life isn’t about you anymore, it’s about God. A major crisis can persuade us to negotiate anything with God.

Is that really so bad? Obviously, suffering is painful. But Jesus’ point in John 15 is that the only way we can thrive in life is by being naturally connected to him, like branches to a vine. That means our lives will be far richer connected to him in a crisis than if we are drifting off on our own.

The point is not that crises aren’t bad; it’s that being connected to Jesus Christ is good. Sometimes God uses the blinding fog of a crisis to help us find him.

Has he ever done that with you?

Lord, you know what we really need in order to thrive. Please connect us deeply to you, no matter what that may take. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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