Going through a crisis is very much like riding through a thunderstorm. While driving through the storm you are not focused on anything but the potential danger and threat of the storm. You immediately turn off the radio. You don’t have any desire to hear the news. You are not concerned about what the stock market is doing. You do not care what is occurring in Washington, D.C. Your main focus is on the danger and threat that you are facing. The powerful wind is swaying your car from side to side. The trees are leaning over the road. The dark clouds billow and roll through the gray sky like waves in the ocean. The deafening thunder and blinding lightning cause your body to tense up. The muscles in the back of your neck feel extremely tight.
You actually go through a “bracing process” physically and emotionally, preparing for the worst. Jokes are not appreciated at this time. Everything looks bleak. There is nothing about which to be jovial. You insist that everyone in the car become quiet and still. Your focus is on the storm, on surviving, on safety, and on getting through the storm. The fact is, the situation is extremely dangerous. This is no time to dismiss the brevity of the situation simply as “a little storm.” Your emotions, your fears are well-founded. Something could happen, something tragic and horrible. Hope begins to ebb away. You question the wisdom of putting yourself and your family in jeopardy. You ask repeatedly, “Why did not I stay at home? How could I have been so stupid?” Most of us feel these same emotions and physical responses during the storms of life, which we call crises. Often, being a dad can feel like being in crisis mode all of the time. You wonder if you can keep strong through it all. Here’s how to be a strong dad during tough times.
How To Be a Strong Dad During Tough Times
Whether it’s in marriage or in family, people in crises often have a difficult time differentiating between the way things are and the way things seem to be. One of the most important roles a dad plays is enabling the suffering person to distinguish reality from perception. The fact is, even during the darkest, most critical moment of the storm, there is still hope. The sun is still shining with the same intensity as it always does.
However, when you are in the heart of the storm, you simply cannot see the sun’s brilliance. The clouds conceal any rays of hope. Your focus is on what is occurring at that very moment – the danger, darkness, and destruction of the storm, not the light from the sun.
If you keep driving long enough during a severe storm, you will eventually get through it. The wind will calm, the thunder and lightning will temper, and the dark clouds will begin to diminish. Suddenly, the sun bursts through the clouds again, just as bright as ever. You then realize that everything is going to be OK. The initial crisis is almost over.
When the Storm Ends
However, even when the initial storm is over, there will be “after-effects.” I recently heard on the weather channel that most people are not killed from gale-force winds during a hurricane. Most people lose their lives from the after-effects of the storm. This includes flooding, electrical shock by downed power lines, and clean up accidents. The same is true of crisis situations. The initial storm may pass rather quickly. The after-effect of the storm is often the most difficult to deal with. It is then that we need extra support and help from people who care about us.
Storms are such strong metaphors for people while experiencing a crisis. The sun can represent hope, peace, balance, and even God to people. Individuals in crisis may know deep down that God, peace, and hope are still existent, yet at the same time, they may be having trouble recognizing them. Your job as a dad is to walk alongside your family and assure them, “It is going to be OK and the sun is still there.” “You will get better. You are not going insane. God still cares and so do I.” Isn’t that what God does for each of us? He walks beside us and guides us through the storm. The Shepherd Psalm, Psalms Chapter twenty-three, illustrates this so clearly:
“… Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4)
There Will Be Light
When passing through a valley, our ability to see the light of day is often obstructed from the towering mountains on each side of us. When we walk through the dark valley of tribulation and trial, our ability to see God clearly is also impaired. It is during these times that we need to be reminded that these trials that are being experienced are only temporary and will pass. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. It is through the darkness that God can show people the light. It is in the darkness that God does his greatest work.
After all, in the beginning, when He created this magnificent universe and world, He created them out of complete darkness and void. Shadows and darkness are no challenge to God. That is why we should depend on Him the most when we are facing a storm. What looks dismal and dreaded for most people, is an opportunity for growth and development to God. Understanding this will help you know how to be a strong dad during tough times.