Do you know that Life is a sequence of problem-solving opportunities? The complications we face will either defeat us or advance us - contingent on how we respond to them. Unfortunately, most of us miss the mark when it comes to seeing how God wants to use problems for good in our lives. We react irrationally and resent our problems rather than pausing to think through what benefit they might bring. God use problems to navigate us.Sometimes God must light a fire under us to get us moving. Think about it, problems often puts us on a new course and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways. Proverbs 20:30 validates this: “Stripes that wound scour away evil, and strokes reach the innermost parts.”
God also uses problems to inspect us. I read somewhere that, “People are like teabags if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water!” That’s funny…but true! Has God ever tried your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? James 1:2-3 tells us, “When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience.” We all can agree that God uses problems to correct us. Let’s be honest, some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. I remember my mama telling me not to climb trees while wearing a dress. Well, I didn’t see a problem with it! Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that if you are high up in a tree with a dress on, EVERYBODY can see your unmentionable ha ha. Yes, it was after that embarrassing moment I gained the name “Granny Panty Annie.” You better believe I found a new hobby after that humiliating escapade.
Psalm 119:71 says, ‘It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statues.” God uses problems to protect us. A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents us from being harmed by something more serious. I remember someone telling me about a friend who was fired for refusing to do something unethical that her boss asked her to do. Her unemployment was a problem - but it saved her from being convicted and sent to prison when her boss actions were uncovered. Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” God uses problems to perfect us. Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in our character than our comfort. Our relationship to God and our character are the only two things we’re going to take with us into eternity. Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice when we run into problems they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.”
My friend, God is at work in our lives - even when we do not recognize it or understand it. But it's much easier and profitable when we cooperate with Him! Listen, if we can discover meaning in even the most ugly and painful of our circumstances, we can fortify ourselves with purpose to go on living. Peter said Christians should expect tough pressures and problems in life. The purpose, he wrote, is for the “proof” (purification) of our Christian Faith. Peter illustrates by the picture of gold being purified by fire. The idea, then, is that when Christians collide with problems, figure your way through, look to and trust God as you wade through to the other side of victory, and your faith in a loving heavenly Father will be extremely stronger. Even though present problems hurt, God still loves us, and wants a closer, trusting relationship with us. The ultimate end is a better understanding, contentment, meaning, and coping strategies in this life.
Just be assured, God has not abandoned us, but is teaching us. Another powerful principle is patience. Staying power….endurance!! It is easy to give up when things begin to fall apart. Please Don’t! Anyone can give up. But, the winners in life keep going. After all, when Deontae Wilder gets hit, he doesn’t stop in the ring and start crying! Nope! He keeps going, and hits back even harder. Now, sometimes we may need to step back awhile, rest, recuperate, then get up and back into the struggle of life. We may need to make adjustments. Setbacks happen. Plans and hopes can be wiped out like a landslide crushing everything in its path. We stop and reassess our situation. Measure how our faith has grown. Figure out a way around our obstacles, and lay down fresh plans based on our new situation, resources, opportunities, and what we have learned from God. Remember, anybody can quit. But, we are not just anybody. Christians are somebody. We are a child of God, and the object of His loving grace. We are not defeated. Hallelujah! Praise God!
Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, I acknowledge that many of my issues are beyond my ability to control, but nothing is impossible for You. Lord, help me to view every problem, obstacle or setback as an opportunity to strengthen my trust in You and to grow in righteousness. I know as I stay in Your presence and focus on Your greatness my troubles will shrink to proper proportion. In Jesus name I pray amen!”
One Simple Nugget: “Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines.” Robert Schuller
FYI: Refuse to live backwards, see every day as a new chapter!