A leader’s first response amid a global crisis

A leader’s first response amid a global crisis

Written on 03/02/2021
Cindy Palin

Written by Cindy Palin
Each follower of Christ chooses to live out God’s plans instead of their own. What does this commitment mean during a global crisis? What should a Christ-like leader’s first response be?

Regardless of what it should be, fear is often our first response to any crisis. Fear because we feel out of control; fear we won’t get what we want; fear of discomfort. We aren’t immune to fear, to surprise, or to getting caught off guard.

Fear can manifest in anger, defiance, or running away. Fear can often turn into harsh words or foolish arguments. God’s people are not immune to these things.

Yet we also know God’s ways are not our ways. We can’t rely on our own knowledge or instinct. We can’t trust our first reactions.

We may not have an exact policies and procedures manual for every situation, but we do have the Bible. Godly training and practice helps our first response to be patterned after Christ.

When Jesus entered the gates of Jerusalem, the Jews expected a King to conquer Rome. Instead, He humbled Himself and died on a cross. His timely silence was not cowardice. It was courageous trust in God’s resurrection power.

Recently during a work lunch, I found myself surrounded by outcries about the pandemic. Quickly, I found a quiet place to process; I knew I needed the wisdom of a timely silence. Otherwise, my words would be no more than a resounding gong or clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Prayer and reading Scripture help me process like nothing else in this world. Scripture gives examples of God speaking throughout history. I always ask myself, How might His approach or answers in history be applied to the current situation?

God’s Word gives explicit instructions for living, training, and teaching—for trouble and for triumph. And His Word is for right now, just as it was for past ages. As believers and leaders, God’s truth prompts us to ask important questions:

Do we welcome godly discipline so we’re prepared for what each day brings, even a pandemic?
Are cultural influences lulling us to sleep?
Are we getting distracted by foolish arguments and conspiracy theories?
Are our words speaking life or death?
Are we big enough to be small enough to ask for help?
Is our leadership emphasising the message of the gospel or subtracting from it?

While I processed the outcries and questions in that quiet place, I gleaned instruction in the form of a song. The lyrics reference Scripture passages, lovingly reminding me of Truth, pushing me towards compassion, and giving me courage in the face of uncertainty.

We shouldn’t be surprised by the fiery trials that come our way. Instead, we should humble ourselves and allow God’s resurrecting power to give us hope for new life.

As scary as it is, let’s not settle for only half of what He has for us, but let Him take the lead. Let us courageously go to the edge where God can refine us and shine through us. Let us mourn with those who mourn, but also celebrate the growth, fruit, and hope we have for eternity.

Here is the song I wrote that day. Its words pointed me towards what a leader’s first response should be: humility and submission.

Lead me

Always a surprise when it shouldn’t be
Suffering is the norm, risking everything
I don’t want to breathe half of what you planned
Take me by the hand
and lead me to the edge where the battle burns
where the lost are found, where the hungry yearn
where the fertile ground grows a fruitful tree
Lead me.
Always a steep climb when my knees are weak
Broken and contrite, is my offering
I can hear you breathe courage to my soul
Show me where to go
and lead me to the edge where the battle burns
where the lost are found, where the hungry yearn
where the fertile ground grows a fruitful tree
Lead me.