Coping in times of crisis

Finding inspiration to find ‘strength and understanding’

by The Revd Canon Andrew Wright

When I was a child, I used to walk in the hills near my grandparents’ There was a bench I came across regularly and it had a Bible text on it. It was from Psalm 121: “I lift up mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help.” It suggested that the person who placed it there believed that by looking to the hills he or she was inspired and reminded of the God who can help.

That may be true, but it is not what the Psalm actually says. The inscriber had forgotten the question mark. In fact, it says: “I lift my eyes to the hills. From whence cometh my help?” It finishes with that question mark.

It was probably a Psalm, a song, sung by pilgrims to Jerusalem as they set out on their way home. They looked out from the city at the hills through which they would have to pass. They were scared. These were hot, parched, dangerous places where robbers lay in wait for vulnerable and weary travellers.

As we look out from our homes, our ships, our places of work, we can feel equally vulnerable. Crisis seems to follow crisis. Pandemic, war, an energy crisis, economic threat. Things that will touch on ourselves and our families, quite apart from any more personal problems.

We might echo with the singers of the Psalm – “where does my help come from?” The next line is more confident. “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth”. Of course, that is no easy answer. Faith does not solve our problems and give easy solutions. Jesus knew that, as we do. However, it is a good starting place.

As we travel with the God of Jesus, the Maker of heaven and earth, perhaps in conversation with him we can begin to find strength and understanding.

The Revd Canon Andrew Wright is secretary general of The Mission to Seafarers.

A prayer for seafarers

Lord, we are living through difficult times. It is easy to be worried and anxious for ourselves, our families, our friends.

Thank you that you walk in love beside us. Help us to stay faithfully by your side.

In friendship with you may we be supported and sustained day by day.