(First published on December 1, 2018)
In the dark of night when a crisis hits, where will you turn when there’s no one there?
Many people are struck at some point with a personal life crash. That might be a divorce, the death of a spouse, child, family member, or friend, a health issue, or any other shakeup that can throw a life off-course. When that happens some might elect to jump ship because they don’t see any way to continue when the wave they were on is no longer there. It could be the person has a lack of good support systems in place. Or perhaps friends coincidentally make an untimely disappearance. I know about that because a lot of that happened to me.
What do you do when your life hits a rock after years of mostly smooth sailing? There’s no way to prepare outwardly for that event. Some things we can’t control, such as what others decide to do or not do, how our finances will hold up, or how our bodies will stay whole. The only way to prepare for any life crisis is through continual internal strengthening.
The internal solutions I turned to might not be for everyone. In fact, it’s a very personal choice. However, I will tell you how my choice saved me. Feel free to choose whatever resonates specifically with you.
I can still remember myself as a young child in catechism class, following a lesson plan that introduces children to the Catholic faith. Since my family life was a bit chaotic, we only attended mass on Christmas and Easter. That early introduction planted a seed though and it grew with each and every life challenge ahead. I have never been a perfect angel and yet I knew Jesus loved me. I’m sure that early knowledge of Him is what stuck with me and I wasn’t letting go. It’s hard to explain unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, but I have experienced his blessings and healings. And while surviving my most recent life crisis, my faith in Him melded into solid gold certainty.
As an adult I attended Catholic Charismatic masses with my mom, as in later years she became more devout. She was by then attending church regularly, belonged to Charismatic prayer groups, and one for Our Lady of Guadalupe. My mom and I even went on a pilgrimage one year to Mexico City to visit the Shrine that houses the tilma with Our Lady’s image. My mother was Mexican-American and so visiting this place devoted to the patron saint of Mexico was especially impactful for her. It was in these later years of adulthood that my mother guided me further into the Catholic traditions. Perhaps that’s the reason why after my recent life crash that I chose to regularly attend mass at a specific Catholic church. It’s the one that holds the history of most of my family’s weddings, baptisms and my mother’s funeral.
Even before and after that time, I have had a growing hunger for God. Yet, one that didn’t always lead me to seek out attendance at a traditional church. I read the bible, and all the way through at least once, maybe twice. As an avid TV watcher, I also latched onto Christian TV. In fact, Christian TV has been there in times of need more often than not. I am well aware of the negative connotations that religious programming can elicit, but I have quite a different view on it.
It’s true that there are some that preach inaccurately or are found to request money with the lowest of motives. However, as with everything on TV, people need to select well, use their best judgement, and if necessary, change the channel. I rarely hear about the benefits of Christian TV, but I believe there are many.
For instance, not everyone has access to a nearby church, nor are they always connected at just the right time. How many people turn on the TV in the middle of the night, in the middle of a breakdown and switch on to a preacher, pastor or other Christian leader speaking about the kindness of Jesus? It has been said that that outlet has saved many lives of those ready to end theirs but because they are touched by God and something the pastor said, they decide to live. Whether or not the pastor at the end of the show asks for money is of no consequence; there’s no requirement to give. It does cost money to produce a TV show whether religious or not. And they do provide programming and a service and so should receive some kind of compensation. Just because they preach about God doesn’t mean they can’t earn a wage. That’s where the misconception begins.
The turnoff might be their approach to asking for donations, and it’s true, some have squandered them. Either way, that should be no reflections on God himself. These are humans requesting the money, even if they are professed men and women of God. It’s up to the viewer to decide whether or not they are called to give to a certain preacher.
Ideally, it’s recommended to attend a local church in person. In moments of crisis or for those homebound or otherwise, Christian TV can offer an excellent solution. As is true for anything on TV or in life, if something offends you then follow your hunch and move on. The best safeguard is to be so close to God that you have the discernment to decide correctly.
After my mother passed away, I took a big emotional hit. Later in life she had become my best friend. Somehow when she passed, it set off a succession of other losses both financial and within my close relationships. And because my medically-neglected health issues were also weakening me, my life was quickly going downhill and for whatever reason no one seemed to care. I felt as if I was falling off a cliff and my hands were trying to grasp onto whomever or whatever I could as I kept slipping down. No one caught me. But Jesus did. He never let go and in fact, I now know that he had me the whole time. When I reached out to Him, he was there and I’m here today to show for his saving graces. Not to diminish His impact, but there was one other key point to make about what saved my life. That was my cat.
It might seem trivial or incredulous, but my cat also saved me. When it felt as if everyone else in the world had left me, my cat never did. His unconditional love by sticking by my side when I was a mess in so many ways was reassuring. It made me keep myself up just to be well enough to care for him. Cats run away all the time, but he didn’t. He had a choice to leave, but he didn’t.
Sometimes people fail to be there, for whatever reason. In the dark of night when a crisis hits, where will you turn when there’s no one there? I suggest you have a plan in place. Don’t lose your life in a desperate moment because you’re all alone. There’s always time for internal preparation.