Right now, thousands upon thousands of people are facing the physical ruins of disaster: hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires. Disaster can also take the form of personal emergencies that bankrupt us, both physically and emotionally. unexpected consequences that wreck our plans and knock us down. How do we rise after a crisis? How do we rebuild?

Bill English says the first step, which is easy to say but difficult to do, is to see the disastrous circumstance as an opportunity.

“You never want to waste a crisis. A crisis is an opportunity to reevaluate your life to decide if God is moving you along elsewhere or if He wants you to rebuild, recast, and keep going in the same vein you’re in today. Look over the last 10 years of your life and decide what you want to keep, what you want to change– ask God what you should change permanently.”

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10

Bill says those people most likely to overcome and adapt after disaster are those who hold their lives with an open hand and are willing to let God override their plans.

“God is working in advance, in the future, to prepare a work, while in the present, He’s preparing us to do that work. At some point, He’s going to bring the two together in the timeline; that’s when we know we’re prepared to do that work.”

“Don’t underestimate the fact that the crisis that you’re facing today may very well be God’s preparation for that future work that is unforeseen, unknown right now.”

While you’re in a rebuilding phase, it important to focus on your own circumstances and not compare your situation to other people.

“Your crisis is your crisis. Don’t minimize it, don’t maximize it, and don’t try to compare it to how other people are doing. It’s easy during the crisis to look at other people who are doing well and say, ‘God, why don’t you bless me, like you bless them? Poor me! Why did you let this happen to me?'”

“That kind of self-pity isn’t going to get you anywhere; it’s only going to make things worse. It’s best to say, ‘This is my crisis, and I’m going to learn everything that God has for me in this crisis. I’m going to do everything I can to get out of it, but I’m going to leave the results to God.”

As difficult as it can be when disaster knocks us down, God can use the same crisis to build you up for bigger and better things yet to come.

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:3

Bill English is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Northwestern.  He is an Executive Consultant with The Platinum Group and the Founder of Bible and Business.

Rebuilding after disaster