«But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me» (Psalm 22: 19)
Families, just like individuals, go through moments of tension that Can turn into crises. The changes related to progress, like the birth of a son, the empty nest syndrome, retirement, among others, offer moments of anticipated tension. A car accident, unemployment, natural disasters or marital separation are unpredictable changes and have greater impact on family members.
One of the most dramatic change I (L) have lived in my family was our move to Italy. Our goal was to undertake postgraduate studies there, but after six months of living in that country, our situation had become very complicated. As foreigners, we worked by caring for the elderly, helping immigrant children with their homework or cleaning some houses or offices. One day, while I was on my way to work, I prayed to God and this is what I said: «O Lord, I can’t do it anymore. I wake up at four o’clock in the morning to go to work, but when I’m there I keep thinking about my children; and when I’m with them, I feel the need of studying or going to work. I feel I’m not doing things right. I neither study, nor work, nor take good care of my children. Please, help us! » That same week, a friend encouraged us to participate in an academic competition and apply for a PhD scholarship granted by the government. After a few months, and as something impossible to achieve, out of four thousand applications, both my husband and I received those scholarships; thus, in the following years, we were able to dedicate our time to studying without having the need to work.
I vividly remember the necessities and bewilderments of those days, but I also remember that I took strength and encouragement with this thought «the moment of greatest discouragement is the time when divine help is nearest.» (The Desire of Ages, ch. 58, p. 528). In other words, the more complicated the situation seemed, the more we could nurture the hope of God’s help. Many years have passed since then and the experiences of God’s care will forever be engraved in our minds when we cried, «But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me!»
Just like how it happens in individual crisis, the resolution of a family crisis can entail a growth for the family. In time, we were able to look back «with thankfulness upon the darkest part of [the] way» and come out «from every temptation and every trial . . . with firmer faith and a richer experience.» (Ibid.)
In the midst of a crisis, you can also cry to God. You can confidently believe that help is on its way!