Crisis at the Top of the Stairs

Genesis 32:22-23

Come to the crisis before the crisis comes to you.

About four years ago, I got to the third floor of the building where my office was--44 steps from the ground floor, plus another 25 or so from the basement of the parking garage--and found myself huffing and puffing too much to speak with a colleague who crossed my path. It occurred to me at that moment that having allowed my body to get that overweight and that out of shape, I was simply asking for a crisis to come down the road toward me.

Rather than waiting for high blood pressure to trash my kidneys, for diabetes to thoroughly restrict my diet, or for my heart to simply give up on me, I needed to confront that crisis before it happened. I needed to realize that my out-of-breath moment was enough of a crisis.

In the chapter preceding the verses cited above, Jacob does his best to postpone the crisis that he expects with his brother. He divides his possessions into two camps. He sends a series of gifts ahead for his brother. He even directs his wives and children across the river ahead of him. Why does Jacob wait behind by himself? My guess is that he was trying to put off the crisis for as long as possible.

When I saw a likely crisis headed my way, I determined to control my eating and start working out. For about two and a half years I maintained that discipline before allowing myself to slip. Now I find myself once again working to head off tomorrow’s crisis, getting to it before it gets to me.

How much more important is it for us to head off the spiritual crises that God is sure to allow into our lives if we behave foolishly?

  • What is the most significant crisis to ever force change in your life?
  • Have you ever seen a future crisis and reacted to it beforehand? Is there one you should head off today?
  • Pray that God will guide you safely through the crises of your life.
About the Author

Mark Browning

Connection Point Member
Mark Browning is an English professor at Johnson County Community College. Mark also writes curriculum for LifeWay Resources and Connection Point Church. Visit Mark's personal blog at