I should add, however, that clarity should not be expected to emerge at once. We will likely never have a perfect understanding of our circumstances. Yet, I have personally experienced God’s nudge in the right direction when I was paralyzed by my circumstances or so burdened I was not willing to move on my own.
At the risk of speaking out of my field of expertise, I believe the system of emergency triage is a great metaphor for the process of seeking God’s clarity in a crisis. Triage is the method of quickly categorizing the condition of the injured in an event involving many people, in an effort to save as many as possible.
When we go through any crisis we must decide what needs to be done first. We must also resist the urge to try to fix things that cannot be fixed or address needs that can wait. Every situation is unique, but I have discovered some of the most immediate needs in a crisis usually involve medical or legal decisions and intense emotions that must be managed for the sake of sound judgment. Within these emotions are feelings of abandonment, guilt, anger and fear. This means a good place to start in our prayer efforts is to ask God to give us a sense of His presence and settle our hearts so we can think rationally.
Dynamics in relationships are almost always a part of a crisis, but they are the last thing we want to address in the moment. The only exception to this might be the acknowledgment that personal issues must be set aside between family members so everyone can focus on what is important. A good prayer along these lines might be, “God bring us together and make us one so we can seek your will in this time of trouble.”
The sudden loss of a loved one presents an immediate need to pray for God’s comfort and assurance. I have stood by the hospital bed of many family members after a tragic accident resulting in death, and we have prayed prayers of hope in the midst of our pain. These kinds of experiences are agonizing for me, but I am thankful for God’s promises and the faith that sustains us when there is nowhere else to turn. David writes, “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:4-5)